Washington: New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has declined the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which he was scheduled to receive from President Donald Trump on January 14.
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 impeached Trump this week, accusing him of “incitement of insurrection.”
“Recently, I was offered the opportunity to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which I was flattered,” 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 has been the Patriots’ head coach since 2000 and has won six Super Bowls, an NFL record for a head coach. He has also been a personal friend of Trump.