NFL Legend and top-notch coach, Bill Belichick has announced that he will not be accepting the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom which US President Donald Trump was supposed to bestow him due to the Capitol Hill riot that took the lives of several people.
According to the Super Bowl decorated coach, who has won six times in his career, he changed his mind about accepting the country's highest civil honor after people stormed the Capitol Building last week, in an attempt to stop President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
Protesters wearing Trump's campaign colors and banners ransacked offices in the House of Representatives, and some even left threatening messages.
'Above all, I am an American'
In a statement that he released on Monday, Belichick said that above anything else he is an American citizen who greatly respect's the values of the nation, democracy, and freedom. He further added that his decision is also a representation of his family and the New England Patriots.
According to the New Hampshire Public Radio, the NFL Legend who has previously stated that he was very flattered by the opportunity to be presented with the presidential honor stated that despite not accepting the medal, he would still continue to push for equality, human rights, and social justice.
Last week's riot was the worst that Washington DC and the Capitol has seen in more than 200 years. The assault on Capitol hill has taken at least five lives.
Based on a statement shared by a White House official, four days after the riots, Trump will be awarding the NFL coach the medal, which is part of a late flurry of presentations that also involves other recipients like golfers Annika Sorenstam, Gary Player, and the late Babe Zaharias.
A day after the violence in Washington D.C., both Player and Sorenstam accepted their awards in a private ceremony.
Belichick's decision is another blow to the administration of Trump as he is a supporter of the President in the past, The New York Times reported.
A number of Trump's top advisers and officials from the White House have resigned in recent days, which they cited the violence on Wednesday.
The refusal of Belichick in receiving the Medal of Freedom has sparked a positive reaction on social media.
Sports columnist emeritus of the Boston Globe, Bob Ryan, congratulated Bill Belichick on Twitter and emphasized that he has done the right thing.
Jim McGovern, the congressman in Massachusetts, who previously urged the NFL legend to refuse the award, welcomed the move by Belichick.
Despite his usual description of himself as a political, Belichick was waded into politics from time to time.
Trump read a glowing letter from Belichick in 2016 while on the campaign trail, wherein the coach praised Trump for his courage and leadership.
Despite the comment of Trump that the letter offered best wishes for great results on election day and the opportunity to make America great again, Belichick shared it was just merely to support a friend.
Moreover, the support of the coach for Trump has faced criticisms from some fans but it did not affect his standing with players in the locker room, as even Patriots owner, Robert Kraft is also friendly with Trump, Al Jazeera reported.