After about a day of speculation and despite a report that suggested otherwise, Belichick released a statement on Monday saying he would not be accepting the Medal of Freedom from President Donald Trump.
He released this statement that was tweeted by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
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. 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 country I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award.
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Issues With the Wording of the Statement
Belichick’s decision to bypass the award was smart considering the riots Trump incited last week at the nation’s capitol and based on what the President has come to represent. While Belichick’s decline of the award was enough for most, it didn’t quite scratch the itch for some.
Massachusetts-based journalist and sportscaster Adam Bagni wasn’t entirely pleased with Belichick’s statement. Bagni called out some of the wording in a tweet (that he later deleted) on Monday afternoon.
It does sound as if Belichick is trying to make sure he doesn’t offend anyone with his statement. However, let’s be honest: everyone knows Belichick and Trump are friends. They have both talked about their friendship in the past. Considering this is common knowledge, I’m not sure anyone expected Belichick to throw his friend completely under the bus, no matter how heinous his behavior has been for the past 4 years.
Considering the circumstances, Belichick did just about all that was expected of him.
Why Belichick Didn’t Have Much of a Choice
In all honesty, I’m not sure Belichick had much of a choice. Had he gone through with accepting the award, the backlash would have been significant, and it would have come from almost every imaginable direction.
Belichick has worked too hard and accomplished too much to have his legacy stained by the dirt Trump has created. This isn’t to say Belichick’s support of Trump up to now has been completely embraced, but it’s clear, accepting this award during the current climate would have taken things to another level.
For the sake of the relationship with the media, his coaches, players, his legacy, and some of the Patriots’ fanbase, Belichick had only one choice.
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