Patriots coach Bill Belichick turns down Presidential Medal of Freedom from Trump – The Independent

Patriots coach Bill Belichick turns down Presidential Medal of Freedom from Trump – The Independent

The NFL veteran, who is the only coach with six Super Bowl wins, had been set to get the award from the outgoing president on Thursday.

But he said that following the violence at the US Capitol Building last week he could no longer accept it.

“Recently, I was offered the opportunity to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which I was flattered by out of respect for what the honour represents and admiration for prior recipients,” said Mr Belichick in a statement.

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

Mr Belichick, 68, would have received the nation’s highest civilian award as Democrats move to impeach Mr Trump over the violence that left five people dead.

Golfers Gary Player and Annika Sorenstam have come under fire for receiving the same award the day after the storming of the Capitol Building.

“Above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for our nations’s values, freedom and democracy,” added Mr Belichick.

“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.”

Mr Belichik and the New England Patriots visited the White House after their 2017 Super Bowl win, an event that quarterback Tom Brady skipped.

He has worked in the NFL for 46 years and been head coach of the Patriots for 21 years.