New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick Rejects Trump’s Presidential Medal Of Freedom
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick has rejected a Presidential Medal of Freedom from incumbent President Donald Trump in response to the ‘tragic events of last week’ at the US Capitol building.
On Monday evening, January 11, the NFL coach announced he was ‘flattered’ to have been offered the accolade, but had decide to turn it down following the pro-Trump rally, which led to the death of five people.
‘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,’ he announced in a statement.
‘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.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is deemed to be the highest civilian honour in the United States, with Tiger Woods, Lou Holtz and Gary Player all recently receiving the prestigious accolade.
According to the White House, the award is only given to those ‘who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavours’.
Belichick’s statement continued, as per TMZ:
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.
His announcement comes following calls from US politicians, including Representative Jim McGovern, to refuse the award, with McGovern saying that accepting the award would be ‘disgraceful’.
‘Bill Belichick should do the right thing and say no thanks,’ the Democrat told CNN. ‘This president is not fit to be in office, so anything he would bestow on anyone, to me, is meaningless and to accept it is disgraceful.’
A White House official has confirmed it is aware of Belichick’s decision not to accept the award, however no comment has been made publicly.
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