So much for that: Bill Belichick won't be accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom this week, after all. Despite his longtime friendship with President Trump, the New England Patriots coach issued a statement Monday declining the honor, ESPN reports. "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. Subsequently, the tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award," it reads.
"Above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for our nation's values, freedom and democracy," it continues. "I know 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." Meanwhile, the Independent reports that Trump did present the medal to Rep. Jim Jordan as planned on Monday; the Ohio congressman objected to the certification of the electoral votes even after the US Capitol was stormed by a violent pro-Trump mob last week. (Read more Presidential Medal of Freedom stories.)