© 2022 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WEDH · WEDN · WEDW · WEDY · WNPR
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Patriots' Bill Belichick Refuses Presidential Medal Of Freedom After Capitol Riot

The New England Patriots head coach turned down the nation's highest civilian honor from the president Monday, citing last week's violent events at the Capitol.
Adam Glanzman
/
Getty Images
The New England Patriots head coach turned down the nation's highest civilian honor from the president Monday, citing last week's violent events at the Capitol.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who had been expected to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom later this week, has instead declined the honor, citing last week's violence at the Capitol.

"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," the six-time Super Bowl legend and early Trump supporter said in a statement reported by the National Football League late Monday. "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," the statement read.

The president announced he would give Belichick the nation's highest civilian honor this week, days after Trump supporters stormed into the Capitol building in Washington.

Trump had been expected to bestow the honor at the White House on Thursday.

Belichick and the president have known each other for years. Trump, at a rally before his 2016 election victory, even read a "letter of praise" from the New England head coach.

Belichick's decision to decline the honor at the White House is yet another blow to an increasingly isolated Trump, who has seen a wave of top advisers leave in recent days, also citing the violence.

The president's office did not immediately responded to the coach's announcement.

In his statement, Belichick said that one of the most rewarding experiences in his 46 years with the NFL, 21 with the Patriots, was when the team began openly discussing and addressing inequality and social justice issues this season.

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

Speaking on CNN Monday, Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern had called for Belichick to decline the award.

"Bill Belichick should do the right thing and say, 'No thanks,' " McGovern said. He commended the Patriots coach on Twitter Monday night for rejecting the award.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Dustin Jones is a reporter for NPR's digital news desk. He mainly covers breaking news, but enjoys working on long-form narrative pieces.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content