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Bill Belichick refuses to receive Donald Trump’s Medal of Freedom – Deadline

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick is the latest ally to walk away from Donald Trump following the assault on the U.S. Capitol last week by supporters of the president.

In a statement obtained by ESPN on Monday evening, Belichick declined to receive Trump’s Presidential Medal of Freedom. The legendary coach singled out “the tragic events of the past week” for his decision, apparently referring to the insurgent acts of Trump supporters.

Belichick won six Super Bowls with the Patriots after taking over as coach in 2000. He is the NFL’s winningest active head coach and third on the all time list.

Belichick publicly supported Trump when he ran for office. He was appointed to the Presidential Council on Sport, Fitness, and Nutrition in 2018. The team visited Trump in the White House after winning the Super Bowl in 2017. But when they won again in 2019, the Patriots did not visit Trump because of “planning conflicts.” “

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The New England coach also cited “conversations about social justice, equality and human rights” that took place last year for his decision. “Continuing these efforts while remaining loyal to the people, team and the county that I love outweighs the benefits of any individual award,” he said.

Trump has openly criticized athletes’ social justice claims since Colin Kaepernick first took a knee. He has criticized the NBA for supporting the protests over the death of George Floyd and has an ongoing war of words with LeBron James. Ahead of this season’s NFL opener between Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans, Trump got into a fight again.

Here is Belichick’s full statement.

Recently, I had the opportunity to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which flattered me out of respect for what the honor represents and out of admiration for previous recipients. Subsequently, the tragic events of the past week occurred and the decision was made not to go ahead 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 of my professional career was in 2020 when, thanks to the great leadership within our team, conversations about social justice, equality and human rights shifted to foreground and have become actions. Carrying out these efforts while remaining loyal to the people, team and county that I love outweighs the benefits of any individual reward.

While the White House Web page says the award is given to “actors in a range of fields including public service, medicine, journalism, entertainment and business,” the majority of those Trump awarded with the Freedom Medal are sports stars. Tiger Woods, Jerry West, Lou Holtz, Roger Penske, Mariano Rivera and Roger Staubach are just a few of them. There have been a handful of political figures like Ed Meese and Orrin Hatch. Among the few entertainment figures that Trump has bestowed this honor on is Elvis Presley (posthumously)

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