There have been varying reactions to last Wednesday’s (January 6) failed coup after thousands of pro-Trump supporters attempted to take over Congress. The FBI has been arresting participants around the clock as President Donald Trump finds himself on the outs with world leaders, American citizens, and several popular social media platforms. The president’s friend, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, was slated to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom tomorrow (January 12), but he publicly declined the offer.

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“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,” said Belichick in his 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.”

“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,” he continued. “Continuing those efforts while remaining true to the people, team, and country I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award.”

Back in 2016, Belichick stood firm in his support of Trump in an open letter. “Our friendship goes back many years,” the football coach wrote at the time. “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.”