Patriots Coach Won’t Accept Presidential Medal Of Freedom

By Claire Hardwick

In what is one of the highest honors an American citizen can be gifted from the president, New Englands Patriot’s coach Bill Belichick won’t move forward with the process. He was supposed to be awarded the medal on Thursday. 

In a statement, Belichick said, “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. Subsequently, the tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award.”

“Above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for our nation’s values, freedom and democracy. I know I also represent my family and the New England Patriots 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.

“Continuing those efforts while remaining true to the people, team and country I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award.”

As the House moves forward with the impeachment process and pressure grows for President Trump to resign, or the cabinet to invoke the 25th amendment, President Trump has bestowed the Medal of Freedom on some of his closest allies, including Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan. Trump has also awarded the medal to golfers Annika Sorenstam and Gary Player, along with the late athlete Babe Didrikson Zaharias.

Why this matters: This is the first sports figure to actively step away from the president. Critics online are pointing to Belichick’s refusal to accept the medal as a strong statement against President Trump, while Republican lawmakers have not done something of equal measure.