Bill Belichick has received a ton of awards over the course of his career, but the one he is set to get this week might be the most controversial.
Belichick is reportedly going to be awarded the Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Donald Trump. Apparently, Trump is planning to spend his final days in office utilizing his remaining time in power by acknowledging friends.
Meredith McGraw of Politico described Trump’s upcoming actions as followed:
With just days to go in office and facing calls to resign, President Donald Trump is planning to spend the upcoming week taking a ceremonial victory lap and making last-minute use of his presidential powers. A trip to the border is in order, pardons appear to be in the works, and so, too, is an award ceremony for one of his favorite football coaches as well as a top political ally.
According to the White house’s official website the award was “established by President John F. Kennedy in 1963, this prestigious award is the Nation’s highest civilian honor. It is awarded by the President of the United States to individuals 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.”
At one point, speaking publicly about this honor would have been a no-brainer for Belichick. However, based on the riots at the nation’s capital last week and Trump’s involvement in the events that have subsequently led to efforts to remove him from office immediately, things have become far more complicated.
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Patriots Had No Comment
According to McGraw’s story, the New England Patriots had no comment on the matter when they were contacted for a response.
Will Belichick even acknowledge the honor? NBC Sports’ Tom Curran had an interesting take that is difficult to disagree with considering recent events.
Theoretically, a tremendous honor regardless of the president who bestows it. But allowing yourself to be a prop in any “official” act in the final, miserable, violent, embarrassing days of this presidency drains away any honor the honor should bring. https://t.co/ETVrtBBisB
— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) January 11, 2021
Trump Has Placed Belichick in a Tough Position
Belichick has said, he and Trump are friends, but there are no political ties to their relationship.
If the two men maintain a friendship through recent events, it will obviously have an impact on the public’s perception of Belichick. If Belichick accepts the award, speaks glowingly of Trump, or doesn’t address the events that happened in D.C., there will be a backlash, and rightfully so.
It’s easy to imagine some players, coaches, and perhaps even owners voicing their displeasure with Belichick’s decision to associate with Trump in any way behind the atrocities we’ve seen of late.
For all we know, Belichick could be as disgusted by the events of the past week as many of us are, but if he isn’t, he would be wise to keep his sustained allegiance to Trump to himself. As the head coach and de facto general manager of an NFL team, Belichick must interact with a multitude of people–many of which were outraged with what they saw last week–and over the past four years for that matter.
Trump’s efforts to carry on with business as usual could easily be seen as a slap in the face to those who have been offended. For Belichick to allow himself to be a part of that conversation wouldn’t be in his best interest. Belichick has had arguably the greatest coaching career in NFL history. He should think long and hard about continuing to allow himself to grouped in the same conversation with Trump.
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