Bill Belichick refuses Presidential Medal of Freedom, citing 1/6 terrorism

Trump welcomes PM Gentiloni of Italy

Bill Belichick is the coach for the New England Patriots, and arguably one of the most successful NFL coaches of all time. He’s also been caught cheating a few times, but this story isn’t about that. The NE Patriots Organization is very pro-Trump. Belichick and Robert Kraft (the owner of the Pats) have been longtime friends and supporters of Donald Trump, and Belichick sent an open letter of support to Trump on the eve of the 2016 election. When the Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2017, Trump threw the Pats a big celebration at the White House. Trump loves Belichick, Kraft and Tom Brady. So Trump decided to give Belichick the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor a president can award anyone. Trump has given those medals away to completely random people, degrading the honor and making it look like a political gift to his allies. But Belichick did something unusual: he refused the honor. He even made a public statement about WHY he was declining.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has announced that he is declining the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which he was scheduled to receive from President Donald Trump on Thursday.

Belichick cited the “tragic events of last week” as leading to his decision. Pro-Trump rioters rampaged in the US Capitol last Wednesday. Five people died as a result of the chaos, including a US Capitol Police officer. House Democrats want to impeach Trump, accusing him of “incitement of insurrection.”

“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,” Belichick said in a statement. “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.”

A White House official told CNN the White House was made aware of the decision.

Belichick concluded his statement Monday acknowledging, “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.”

[From CNN]

There were Massachusetts congressmen urging Belichick to reject the medal throughout the day yesterday, citing the other Trump-era recipients like Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan, all of Trump’s cronies and enablers. I guess Belichick listened. Or… it’s even possible that Belichick is just a normal American who was appalled by a violent attempted coup. That’s the thing so many Republican senators and congressmen really don’t seem to get: that Americans watched that insanity unfold and we were disgusted and appalled.

Trump welcomes PM Gentiloni of Italy

Trump welcomes PM Gentiloni of Italy

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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26 Responses to “Bill Belichick refuses Presidential Medal of Freedom, citing 1/6 terrorism”

  1. Stellainnh says:

    I’m glad he is refusing the medal. I do believe he is appalled with the current state of the union.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      hopefully he’s also re-thinking his “friendship” with 45.

      I still think he’s a sore loser (and a cheater) but I’ll give him a cookie for this.

      • Mignionette says:

        I think a lot of these friendships were formed on the back of Trump’s TV persona. It will be interesting to see where Trump goes from here as he is effectively Radioactive. The benefit of being Pres is all the contacts thereafter to say build a business or set up a foundation, get your kid into an Ivy League. All that is closed for the Trumps in the absence of VERY hefty donations.

    • Tiffany says:

      He declined it because the players gave him a talking to.

      That is why and no other reason.

      He was all excited about accepting it.

      • tcbc says:

        Yep. Belichick is not a good person, but he’s much smarter than Trump. He probably saw what it would do to player morale (and thereby possibly player performance) and decided it wasn’t worth it. But I don’t for a second believe he actually cares about anything but winning or anyone but himself.

      • Mac says:

        I am less interested in his motives than the message it sends to Trump. The people who legitimized him have abandoned him.

      • AMA1977 says:

        Even that gives me a little bit of hope, because him listening and agreeing with their position shows that there is teachability there. And big praise for the players who once again showed grace and patience they shouldn’t have to in explaining to this OWM (old white man) WHY he should decline.

        I agree that things like this, and losing Twitter and the PGA are mortal blows to the tangerine turd. He DGAF about impeachment, but he cares SUPER A LOT what Hollywood, sports stars, and other “winners” think of him. Not to say that he shouldn’t be impeached too, because ABSOLUTELY YES he should. But in his twisted mind, losing “prestige” and being shunned is a fate worse than death.

      • Tiffany says:


        You are giving him too much credit.

        Those players can make his job very hard and he can be very fired. It is easy to replace a coach than a whole team and even someone like him knows that.

  2. Esmom says:

    I know we should be happy about this, especially after Gym Jordan receiving it yesterday put the final nail in the coffin of this honor for good, but the passive voice in the statement bothers me. He starts out by using “I” more than once and then switches to this: “Subsequently, the tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award.”

    You have to work hard to make that kind of switch in voice rather than just say “I made the decision not to accept the award.” Why? (Rhetorical question.) Maybe I’m reading too much into it.

    • Merricat says:

      It does sound like Belichick is trying to have it both ways–I refuse this medal, and someone else made that decision for me–but nuance isn’t Trump’s strong suit. The only thing that will really matter to Trump is that Belichick turned down the highest honor in the land because it’s coming from Trump. Turn out the lights; it’s over.

    • Naomi says:

      I don’t think you are; I think you’re right. Passive voice is classic “avoid accountability” strategy. For example, every Republican saying “I’m sad a coup occurred,” rather than “I am sorry that my inflammatory lies incited citizens to stage a coup.”

      My suspicion is that Bellichick is still a Trumper but he knows the OPTICS would be horrible for the whole organization right now. Like Tom & Gisele are all in for Trump too, but they have learned better to keep their mouths shut if they still want be brand ambassadors, or do spon con or whatever. It’s all about what’s best for their wallets.

    • Becks1 says:

      It’s one of the most passive statements I’ve seen, lol. I think it was ultimately his decision not to accept it, but he’s really bending over backwards not to just come out and say that.

    • schmootc says:

      Oh, he said that in the most weasely way possible, for sure.

  3. Linda says:

    A man with principles. So rare these days, it seems. Also, I don’t know if I will ever see photos of Trump and not think about his stupid looking hair.

    • Jay says:

      Eh, I award no cookies for (reportedly) being okay with everything up to this point, refusing in the most mealy-mouthed way to accept the award because it would look bad, and also not rejecting Trump personally.

    • Jordana says:

      The hair! Off topic but I had to zoom in on his hair in these pictures. It’s just so weird. Try zooming in on it and make sense of it. I think the longest pieces in his combover are well over 12 inches. Imagine him coming out of a shower. 😱😱😱

  4. Watson says:

    Any medal received from this administration is tainted so good on him for declining it. You’d be associated with Trump forever, not to mention fellow recipient Rush Limbaugh. A joke!

  5. Implicit says:

    I did this four years ago i cut off all trump supporters including all aunts and uncles citing my refusal to normalize his white supremacy – they all feeling hella stupid now for calling me a deranged Hilary snowflake and now they want to call for unity. Apologize first. But seriously until everybody stands up and turns their backs on everyone in their life that supports this administration nothing will end it’s not easy but it Has to be done.

    • lawyergal says:

      You are spot on. I did the exact same. It’s not easy but this will not end otherwise. They need to renounce the beliefs explicitly and state that they were wrong/ashamed of their stances and then we can move on. There needs to be some indication that it’s not just lip service.

  6. Big Little Sighs says:

    I know this really got to him. Covid45 hates to be rejected and to get rejected so publicly is messing with his head. Just like the PGA cutting him off. There are reports he’s more upset about that than the actual impeachment. I give no credit to Bellicheat. It just shows how toxic trump really is.

  7. Larisa says:

    No, I’m afraid Americans aren’t disgusted and appalled – not those Americans who supported Trump, anyway, they still support him. Clicked on a local paper this morning, they are all still bleating that it’s not them, it’s Antifa, that we are all scared of what we know is coming, that Trump will be sworn in on the 20th, that big revelations are coming and we will all apologize. They’ve been saying this for weeks. I even offered wagers to some who claimed “it will all become clear in 3 days”. They refused, of course, and the date keeps sliding, but they are still not disgusted or appalled.

  8. Swack says:

    Seems like the Medal of Freedom has less and less meaning.

    The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the president of the United States to recognize people who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

    What especially meritous contribution has Belichik, Nunez, Jordan or any of the other Trump cronies made? Reward for simply being loyal to Trump.

  9. so says:

    Wait… Nunes and Jordan received a presidential medal of honor ??????? Wow. Just wow.

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