Belichick explained his decision in a statement:
“Above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for the values, freedom and democracy of our nation. I know I also represent my family and the New England Patriots team. One of the most rewarding things of my professional career happened in 2020 when, thanks to the great leadership within our team, conversations about social justice, equality and human rights came to the fore. plan and became actions.
“Continuing these efforts while remaining loyal to the people, team and country I love outweighs the benefits of any individual reward. ”
The Presidential Medal of Freedom was created by John F. Kennedy in 1963. It is awarded by the President to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the security of America’s national interests, to world peace or to other major public or private enterprises. .
Belichick’s honor comes as the US House of Representatives ramps up pressure to force Trump out of office before his term ends on January 20, after a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday as Congress was in the process of confirming Joe Biden as his successor.
Trump recently selected several sports and political backers for the honor. Hall of Fame golfers Annika Sorenstam and Gary Player, as well as the late multisport athlete Babe Didrikson Zaharias, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Thursday, the day after the riot on Capitol Hill.
Belichick, 68, has just completed his 46th season in the NFL and 21st as a Patriots coach. He led the Patriots to six Super Bowl championships, joining George Halas and Curly Lambeau as the only coaches with six championships since the league started in the playoffs in 1933. Belichick’s 311 wins (regular season and playoffs combined ) are third all-time, behind Don Shula (347) and Halas (324).