Patriots’ Bill Belichick rejects Trump’s Presidential Medal of Freedom

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick just made perhaps the toughest call of his professional career. Belichick has decided to pass on accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Donald Trump.

Belichick made his decision known by releasing a statement Monday evening. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter:

“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 not to 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.”

Only Belichick could call the nation’s highest civilian honor an “individual award.” However it’s easy to notice what Belichick didn’t say in the statement: the name of Donald Trump.

Trump considers both Belichick and Patriots owner Robert Kraft among his circle of friends. Heck, in August, Trump said of Belichick, “If I ever had a military battle I’d call up Belichick and say, ‘What do you think, what do you think? Give me a couple of ideas.’ He’d be as good as any general out there.”

But much has changed in the five months since that statement. Trump has taken heat for awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to golfers Gary Player and Annika Sorenstam on Thursday, one day after a Trump-fueled insurrection led a deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol Building.

Politico had reported on Sunday that Belichick would be the next sports figure to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a ceremony later this week.

It’s been a tough 24 hours for the president, who also saw Trump National in Bedminster, N.J. stripped of the 2022 PGA Championship on Sunday night by PGA of America. On Monday, the Royal & Ancient announced Trump Turnberry would not be considered as a site for future British Opens.

You may remember that in July, the New York Times reported that in 2018, Trump asked Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets and the current U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, to get the British government to pick the Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland as a host for the British Open.

Johnson was appointed by Trump in 2017, and he is still owner of the Jets. Johnson’s younger brother, Christopher, has served as acting Jets owner since that time.

Trump owns 17 golf courses, including three in New Jersey: Trump National in Bedminster, Trump National in Colts Neck and Trump National in Philadelphia (which actually is in Pine Hill).

As for the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Trump has awarded it 24 times since taking office in 2017. Of his two dozen recipients, 14 have been athletes, including golfers Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus, College Football Hall of Famer Lou Holtz and New York Yankees Hall-of-Fame reliever Mariano Rivera.

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published this page in News and Politics 2021-01-12 03:45:53 -0800