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 has been the Patriots’ head coach since 2000 and has won six Super Bowls, a NFL record for a head coach.
In 2016, he wrote a letter of support to Trump.
He told reporters after Trump gushed about the letter: “Our friendship goes back many years. Anybody who spends more than five minutes with me knows I’m not a political person. My comments are not politically motivated. I have a friendship with Donald.”