Bill Belichick was feared but never loved. Then he stood up to Trump | New England Patriots


Land let’s start with a simple truth: Bill Belichick is a damn good football coach. Let’s Go Further: After leading the New England Patriots to nine Super Bowls and winning six, Belichick built a solid thesis to become the greatest head coach in NFL history. Here’s another inescapable truth: Belichick has also received an impressive amount of criticism over his 46-year career. Then on Monday he did what many thought was unthinkable. Belichick, a taciturn old-school scolder who seemed the complete opposite of the progressive movement that opposed Donald Trump, refused the Presidential Medal of Freedom after a violent assault by a Maga mob on Capitol Hill.

On Monday evening, Belichick released a statement saying he would pass the honor on. “Recently, I was offered the opportunity to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” the statement read, “which flattered me out of respect for what the honor represents and out of admiration for the recipients. previous ones. Subsequently, the tragic events of the past week occurred and the decision was made not to go ahead with the award.

The passive voice of the statement, “the decision has been made,” suggests that it was not just Belichick’s call, but even so, he should be commended for finally doing the right thing. By rejecting Trump, Belichick is doing something that many of the president’s friends and allies have refused to do despite the events of the past week.

And make no mistake, up to this point Belichick has fully established himself as being in Trump’s corner. When Trump was on the campaign trail in 2016, he proudly shared a praised letter apparently written by Belichick. “Congratulations on this great campaign,” he began, in language that sounded oddly as if Trump had written it himself. “You dealt with incredible slant and negative media and you did really well. Beautifully. Given Trump’s history in story-making, there was justified skepticism that Belichick actually wrote the letter.

Belichick, however, quickly declared his support for Trump. “Our friendship goes back many years,” he said, “and I think anyone who’s spent more than five minutes with me knows that I’m not a political person. For someone like Trump, who judges people by how lavishly praised him, that alone was probably enough for Belichick to win America’s highest civilian honor. Given how easily Trump is given to clashes, there’s a good chance Belichick’s decision, no matter how delicate it is made in this statement, has ended their friendship.

Beyond the personal ramifications, Belichick turned down what would, in most cases, be the country’s most prestigious honor. This is not something to be done lightly and it is an action that may very well come as a surprise to Belichick’s critics who have criticized the head coach for his ‘win at all costs’ mentality.

The Belichick Patriots, after all, have been at the center of two high-profile cheating scandals. More notoriously, there was the 2007 Spygate in which the Patriots were penalized for illegally recording their opponents’ signals, followed by 2015’s Deflategate. The latter was a decidedly silly affair, a case Belichick claimed was ignorant of. complete, but it added fuel to those who would put an asterisk next to the Brady-Belichick-era Pats set. How much the Patriots benefited from these incidents remains an open question, but Belichick’s coaching strategy clearly involved – to some extent – playing fast and loose with the rules. Come to think of it, it’s possible Trump saw him as a cognate spirit because of that as well.

In any case, even if he hadn’t had these imperfections on his coaching career, Belichick’s public facing personality would also have guaranteed him a place among the league’s least-loved figures. In addition to acting as a head coach, Belichick is also involved in the development of the product on the pitch. There is little sentimentality in the land of the patriots, Belichick, the general manager, does not hesitate to pass even beloved players, whom he thinks they are due to a drop or that they will just be too big for a salary cap. He also gained the reputation of being a field project manager.

The rest of the NFL landscape has come together this season to celebrate the Patriots’ first loss since 2000. Part of the reason is that sports fans hate teams that win too often. Just look at the NBA Golden State Warriors as an example of a franchise that has gone from a bunch of lovable scrappers to a despised super-team in a handful of seasons. The truth is, however, that the main reason the Patriots weren’t liked, especially now that Tom Brady was out of the picture, was because of their head coach. It’s not just that the Patriots continued to win, it’s that Belichick didn’t seem to be happy with the process.

In all likelihood, the private Belichick is a different person than any of these different versions of Belichick: whether it is the grumpy who appears at the press conference, the complicit rule-bender who haunts his opponent’s imagination, or the cold-hearted businessman. who will trade your favorite player yesterday if it wins them a nickel tomorrow. There are plenty of stories about Belichick off the pitch that portray him as much more affable than any of the faces he reveals to the general public. Heck, there’s even a rumor that he has a bad sense of humor.

Belichick was screaming from the sidelines earlier this season. Photographie: Charles Krupa / AP

We can’t really know someone’s inner life, not with certainty, but we can judge them by their actions. In this case, Belichick did the right thing. Belichick was due to receive the medal in a private ceremony Thursday, according to reports, which has lasted just over a week since a pro-Trump mob, encouraged by the president himself, launched an assault on the Capitol which led to the deaths of five people. The event led to a belated estimate of the radicalization and dangerousness of the president’s most staunch supporters.

Right now, in response, the House of Representatives is launching impeachment proceedings against the president. It was under these circumstances that Trump, in his dwindling days of power, was basically planning to use what is supposed to be the country’s highest honor to repay one of his rich and famous friends for saying nice things to his subject.

If Belichick had accepted the medal of an alleged disgraced dictator days after an attempted coup, he would have validated the worst accusations of his most vehement critics. In an era when the NFL’s predominantly black playing body took white supremacy, Belichick would have aligned himself forever with a man who has done a lot to promote him.

Instead, Belichick took a stance that didn’t involve a small amount of personal sacrifice. For once, at least, Belichick has proven his critics wrong. The head coach ended his statement by commenting on the Patriots’ commitment to social justice: “Continuing these efforts while remaining loyal to the people, the team and the country I love trumps them. benefits of any individual award. ” Sometimes it turns out it’s not all about winning.


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