Patriots coach Bill Belichick announced Monday that “the decision has been made not to go ahead” and that he was awarded President Donald Trump’s Presidential Medal of Freedom this week. Belichick cited “the tragic events of the past week”, namely the assault on the US Capitol by armed insurgents.
Belichick also highlighted the social justice measures the Patriots have taken in the 2020 season.
“One of the most rewarding things of my professional career took place 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. Continuing these efforts while staying true to the people, team and country that I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award, ”Belichick wrote.
Before Monday, however, Belichick was in Washington, DC
The Patriots will be without a playoff material option, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008, only the second time under Belichick. But Belichick was to receive his own prize.
Trump was planning to award the New England head coach with the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Thursday, by a Politico report. Belichick and Trump have a long-standing friendship, with Belichick being appointed to the President’s Council on Sport, Fitness and Nutrition in 2018.
Belichick writes a letter of support of Trump’s presidential victory in 2016, saying the results would give him the opportunity to “make the American great again.”
News of Trump awarding Belichick the country’s highest civilian honor came amid political turmoil in the country, with congressional leaders demanding the 25th amendment be invoked in the final days of the Trump presidency, following Trump’s incitement to insurgents on Capitol Hill last week.
The US House of Representatives plans to move forward with Trump’s impeachment on Wednesday if Vice President Mike Pence refuses to invoke the 25th Amendment.
After the numerous recounts that Trump demanded in various states, the failure of legal proceedings and the confirmation by Congress of the electoral college votes, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the country’s next president on January 20.
Belichick last visited the White House after the Patriots’ Super Bowl 51 victory in 2017, with the team opting not to visit in 2019 after their Super Bowl 53 victory.
The Patriots finished 7-9 in 2020, their first losing season since 2000.
This article was updated with the announcement of Belichick. Tom Gatto contributed to this report.