Updated: February 27, 2021
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick has turned down President Donald Trump’s Medal of Freedom, he announced in a statement on Monday.
The rejection came after a report surfaced he would receive the presidential medal of freedom later this week.
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“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,” he said in a statement. “Subsequently, the tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award.”
He added: “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.”
Belichick won six Super Bowl titles with the Patriots after he took helm in 2000.