New England Patriots

Coach Bill Belichick says he won't accept Presidential Medal of Freedom

Bill Belichick said that he was flattered by the offer but that "the decision was made" to decline after the "tragic events of last week."

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SPORT PRESS GROUP

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick declined to accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Monday after last week's deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. In a statement, Belichick said he was flattered to be offered the medal, the country's highest civilian honor, but he said the "tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award."

Belichick, who has coached the Patriots for 21 years and has won six Super Bowls, said that "above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for our nation's values, freedom and democracy."

He said "conversations" and "actions" about "social justice, equality and human rights" earlier in the season were among the most rewarding in his career.

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

Earlier Monday, Trump awarded the medal to Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, an ally who helped defend him against special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference.

Last week, another Trump ally, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., was also given the award, and on Thursday, the day after the riot, he presented the medal to three pro golfers.

The medal, established in 1963, is given to people who have "made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors," according to the White House.

The Professional Golfers' Association of America said Sunday that its 2022 championship would not be held at Trump's golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.

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