By Jenco Mackey
Bill Belichick, head coach of the New England Patriots, has declined an invitation from President Donald J. Trump to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Belichick made the decision to decline the honor after the tragic events of January 6 at the Capitol cost five lives.
Belichick noted that he flattered by the opportunity though he he was unable to accept due to the tragic events resulting from the Capitol riots. He also pointed to how rewarding it was in 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, he said, outweighed the benefits of any individual award.
Coach Belichick released the following 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. 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.”
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the president of the United States to recognize people who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” The Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal are the highest civilian awards of the United States. The award is not limited to U.S. citizens and, while it is a civilian award, it can also be awarded to military personnel and worn on the uniform. It was established in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy, superseding the Medal of Freedom that was established by President Harry S Truman in 1945 to honor civilian service during World War II. Source, Wikipedia.