President Donald Trump planned to reward New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick with the Presidential of Medal of Freedom, but Belichick has turned down his offer. Reports regarding the matter began to emerge late Monday afternoon as Trump awarded Rep. Jim Jordan with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. However, the six-time Super Bowl champion quickly shot down reports by issuing a statement.
"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. Subsequently, the tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award," he stated.
"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. Continuing those efforts while remaining true to the people, team, and county I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award."
Declining an offer from the President doesn't necessarily distance Belichick from the Trump presidency. In the midst of the 2016 election, his star quarterback, Tom Brady, was spotted with a "Make America Great Again" hat in his locker. Months later, Belichick, Brady, and the Patriots visited the White House after winning the 2017 Super Bowl. The President also claimed that Belichick wrote him a letter to congratulate him after winning the 2016 election.
"Congratulations on a tremendous campaign. 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," Trump claimed the letter stated.
However, Trump has not issued a statement regarding Belichick's decision not to accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom.