NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick has decided not to accept the Medal of Freedom from President Donald Trump.
Belichick said he was flattered to be offered the medal, the country’s highest civilian honor, but he said tragic events of last week led to the decision not to accept the honor.
Belichick, who has coached the Patriots for 21 years and has won six Super Bowls, said, “above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for our nation’s values, freedom and democracy.”
He said in a statement, “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.”
22News spoke with one local resident who said it was a tough decision for Belichick to make but he thinks most of Massachusetts agrees with his choice.
“Considering the area and knowing people around here, definitely,” said Northampton resident Sean Sweet. “He’s probably not accepting it because he doesn’t want to be a cocky person I would say.”
He said “conversations” and “actions” about “social justice, equality and human rights” earlier in the season were among the most rewarding in his career.
Fans also told 22News now Belichick can focus his attention on getting the Patriots back to their winning ways.