Bill Belichick, the head coach of the New England Patriots, said he will not be accepting the nation’s highest civilian honor from President Trump in light of last week’s Capitol Hill violence.
“Recently, I was offered the opportunity to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which I was flattered by out of respect for what the honor represents and admiration for prior recipients,” the longtime NFL coach said in a statement Monday. “Subsequently, the tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award.”
Belichick, who has led the Patriots to six Super Bowl victories, said that he has “great reverence for our nation’s values, freedoms, and democracy” and represents not just himself but his family and his team.
“One of the most rewarding things in my professional career took place in 2020 when, through the great leadership within our team, conversations about social justice, equality, and human rights moved to the forefront and became actions,” he said.
“Continuing those efforts while remaining true to the people, team, and country I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award,” Belichick added.
The siege of the U.S. Capitol by rioters following a pro-Trump rally resulted in the deaths of several people and led to Democratic and some Republican lawmakers to seek Trump’s removal from office in the twilight of his presidency.
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