But Belichick announced today that he would reject it.
“Recently, I was offered the opportunity to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, so I was flattered by respect for what honor represents and admiration for previous recipients,” he said in a statement.
Subsequently, the tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to proceed with the award.
“Above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for our nation’s values, freedom and democracy.”
His rejection of the honor comes when politicians in the Massachusetts state of Belichick asked him to reject it.
Belichick is considered the best NFL coach in history, primarily because of his time with the New England Patriots.
The coach endorsed Trump’s bid for the presidency in 2016.
“Our friendship goes back many years, and I think anyone who has spent more than five minutes with me knows that I am not a political person,” Belichick said at the time.
But Belichick’s statement today revealed a clear change of mind.
“One of the most rewarding things in my professional career took place in 2020 when, through great leadership within our team, conversations about social justice, equality and human rights came to the fore and turned into action,” he said.
“Continuing those efforts while remaining true to the people, the team and the country that I love outweighs the benefits of any individual award.”
In Belichick’s 20 years as head coach of the New England Patriots, the team won six Super Bowls and finished second in five other seasons.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is awarded at the discretion of the president for “especially meritorious contribution” to national security, world peace and culture or other important public or private endeavors. “
Thirteen of Trump’s 24 Freedom Medals have been awarded to sports personalities.
Three of the awards were given behind closed doors the day after the Capitol Hill riots, all to professional golfers.
Annika Sorenstam and Gary Player were present to receive the award. Babe Zaharias received the medal posthumously.
The award was instituted by John F. Kennedy in 1963, but the winners were formally awarded by Lyndon Johnson after the former’s assassination.
How the world’s newspapers responded to the ‘Trump hate mob’
Trump has not been seen in public since he led a rally that led to the Capitol riots last week.
He faces calls to resign from members of both political parties.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she will initiate impeachment proceedings against him tomorrow unless Vice President Mike Pence invokes the 25th amendment to remove him from office.
Trump will leave office on January 20 and Joe Biden will take over as the next president.