Bill Belichick Will No Longer Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

Bill Belichick was set to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Donald Trump this week. However, due to the events that happened in the U.S. Capitol last week, the New England Patriots coach will not accept the award. In a statement that was released on Monday, Belichick said he was "flattered" by the opportunity.

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

In 2016, Belichick wrote a letter to Trump days before he was elected president. "Congratulations on a tremendous campaign," Trump read to the crowd at a campaign rally in New Hampshire. "You have dealt with an unbelievable slanted and negative media and have come out beautifully. You've proved to be the ultimate competitor and fighter. Your leadership is amazing. I have always had tremendous respect for you, but the toughness and perseverance you have displayed over the past year is remarkable."

Shortly after Trump read the letter, Belichick explained to reporters that he and Trump have been friends for a number of years. "I've received a number of inquiries relative to a note that I wrote to Donald on Monday," Belichick said. "Our friendship goes back many years and I think anybody that's spent more than five minutes with me knows I'm not a political person. The comments are not politically motivated. I have a friendship and loyalty to Donald."

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This news comes after golf legends, Annika Sorenstam, Gary Player and the late Babe Zaharias were honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom last week. Sorenstam and Player accepted their awards in a private ceremony one day after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol to stop Congress from confirming Joe Biden's win the presidential race. Five people died in the chaos, including U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick.