The all-time most successful NFL coach has declined to accept the Medal of Freedom from President Donald Trump, citing last week’s unrest at the Capitol.
The statement: The New England Patriots’ Bill Belichick released a statement Monday announcing that he had been offered the nation’s highest civilian honor.
“Subsequently, the tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award,” the six-time Super Bowl winner said.
- “Above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for our nation’s values, freedom and democracy,” he added.
He added a note of praise for his team’s activities surrounding “social justice, equality and human rights.”
“Continuing those efforts while remaining true to the people, team and country that I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award,” he concluded.
Tired of winning? The Patriots’ organization has several ties to Trump, including billionaire owner Robert Kraft’s decades-long friendship with the president and Belichick’s 2016 campaign endorsement.
- The team visited the White House following their 2017 Super Bowl victory, although a reported scheduling conflict prevented a similar visit in 2019.
- The Patriots’ former long-time quarterback, Tom Brady, made waves in 2015 by wearing a red Make America Great Again hat and has been a regular golf partner for the president.
The team’s press office did not respond to requests for comment.