New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick announced on Monday night that due to the "tragic events of last week," he will not accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Trump.
Trump had planned on giving the medal — the nation's highest civilian honor — to Belichick on Thursday. Belichick publicly supported Trump when he ran for office in 2016, saying he wasn't a "political person" but felt compelled to comment due to "a friendship and a loyalty to Donald."
In a statement, Belichick said he was "flattered" by the opportunity to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom "out of respect for what the honor represents and admiration for prior recipients." However, because of the pro-Trump riot at the Capitol last Wednesday, Belichick said "the decision has been made not to move forward with the award."
Belichick added that he doesn't just represent himself — he also stands for his family and the Patriots — and he is proud of the team's recent social justice initiatives. "Continuing those efforts while remaining true to the people, team, and country I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award," he said.