Donald Trump has mostly made a mockery of his ability to award civilian honors. He gave Rush Limbaugh the Medal of Freedom at 2020’s State of the Union. Football Lou Holtz was given the same honor this summer as a reward for questioning Joe Biden‘s Catholicism during the Republican National Convention.
Trump has also used the medal as a way to get closer to popular figures in the worlds of sports. After his dramatic Masters win in 2019, Tiger Woods received the Medal of Freedom at the White House.
And since Trump is in his last full week as President, he again wanted to give the honor to a sports figure. But Patriots Coach Bill Belichick has told the Trump Administration that he isn’t interested.
Patriots’ HC Bill Belichick will not be traveling to Washington nor accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom, he announced today. pic.twitter.com/uvLLigFlHU
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 12, 2021
The Coach said in a statement:
“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. Subsequently, the tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made to not move forward 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 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.”
Todd Neikirk is a New Jersey based politics and technology writer. His work has been featured in psfk.com, foxsports.com and hillreporter.com. He enjoys sports, politics, comic books and spending time at the shore with his family.