Bill Belichick, a top coach of the National Football League (NFL), has accepted the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom, citing the deadly riots in Capitol Hill last week.
The six-time Super Bowl winner Koch said he changed his mind after supporters of President Donald Trump sabotaged the US Congress seat – offices and left threatening messages.
“Above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for our nation’s values, freedom and democracy,” Belichick said in a statement released on Monday, adding that he represented his family and the New England Patriots team.
The coach, who previously said he was flattering with the opportunity to receive the medal, said he would continue his efforts to work on social justice, equality and human rights “while remaining true to the people, the team and the country.” Much like any individual award ”.
Critics have blamed a fiery speech by Trump for triggering the worst violence in the Capitol in over two centuries. Five people died during the fighting.
A White House official said on Sunday, four days after the riots, that Trump would award the medal to Belichick – a latecomer of the presentations that included golfer Annika Sorenstam, Gary Player and the late Babe Zaharias.
Sorenstam and Player accepted their awards in a private ceremony the next day of violence in Washington, DC.
The decision by Bellich, who has supported Trump in the past, is another setback for an increasingly isolated US president. Several of his top advisers resigned in recent days, citing Wednesday’s violence.
Belich responded positively to social media for the denial.
“Congratulations, Bill Belichick. You have written to the Boston Globe’s Sports Columnist Emeritus, Bob Ryan, Right Thing on Twitter.
Congratulations, Bill Belichick. You have the right thing.
– Bob Ryan (@GlobebusRyan) January 12, 2021
Massachusetts Congress President Jim McGovern, who had previously urged Bellich to refuse the award, welcomed the move.
He said, ‘It is not fit to be in the presidency, so he would consider anyone to be useless. Thank you for rejecting Trump’s award, Coach Belichick, “the senator said on Twitter.
It does not deserve to be in the presidency, so whatever he does to anyone is meaningless.
Thank you Coach Bellich for rejecting Trump’s award. https://t.co/qyxWJT5VAd
– Rape. Jim McGovern (@RepMcGovern) January 12, 2021
Although he describes himself as apolitical, Bellistic stepped into politics on this occasion.
In 2016, Trump read a glowing letter from Belichick, while on the campaign trail, in which the coach praised his courage and leadership. Although Trump said the letter on election day offered “good luck for great results” and “an opportunity to make America great again,” Belichick said it was to support a friend.
Trump’s support of the coach was criticized by some fans, but did not affect his standing with the players in the locker room. Patriots owner Robert Kraft is also friendly with Trump.
The US president has had a long-running battle with the NFL over players kneeling during the national anthem, a gesture previously adopted by some black players to protest against racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Trump called for a ban on players in the league from “kneeling” in protest.
Tense relations between the team’s players and the president surfaced on various occasions, including 2019 when the Patriots did not attend a customary event at the White House to celebrate the Super Bowl victory, citing a conflicting schedule.
Following the death of George Floyd this summer, the Patriots players praised Bellistic for providing him with an open platform to express his feelings on race and social injustice in America.