Patriots’ Belichick Denies the Presidential Medal of Freedom


Bill Belichick, the head coach of the New England Patriots, refuses the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

On January 11, Bill Belichick, the head coach of the New England Patriots, announced that he planned to decline the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded to him by then-President Donald Trump. This medal is an honor awarded to those who have made significant contributions in America. Belichick, however, says he will not “move forward” with this recognition because of Trump’s role in the storming of the United States Capitol on January 6.

Belichick has had a long-time friendship with Trump and has served on his Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition since 2018. He would have accepted the medal if the violence at the Capitol had never occurred.

This award means more than it seems to the general public. Belichick says, “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.” So, he concluded it would not be right for him to accept it.

Many agree with his decision. Joseph Donahue (III), a long-time fan of football, says, “I wasn’t really surprised that he didn’t accept a medal from Trump. It could’ve caused some of his fans to stop supporting the team, and I think some of his players may have quit.”

U.S. Representative Jim McGovern of the Second District of Massachusetts adds that “This [former] President has made a mockery of the Presidential Medal of Freedom […] Look at who he is giving it to in the last weeks — people like [U.S. Representatives] Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan […] — I mean, please. Belichick should do the right thing and say, ‘No thanks.’”

Though this award has much prestige, Belichick has earned many other recognitions throughout his career, such as the Associated Press National Football League Coach of the Year Award and Best Coach/Manager Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award. Belichick also holds the record for most Super Bowl titles, leading the New England Patriots to six of their nine appearances. He is also the only active coach named to the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.

Even though Belichick has announced that he will not accept the medal, he still appreciates the honor that Trump gave him.