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Bill Belichick has turned down the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Donald Trump

The New England Patriots coach cited "the tragic events of last week" for his decision not to accept the award.

Bill Belichick, coach of the New England Patriots.
NFL Films/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Bill Belichick, the long serving coach of the New England Patriots, has released a statement, stating he will not be accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Donald Trump, in the wake of riots at the Capitol last week. 

"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," he 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." 

Belichick is one of the most famous coaches in NFL history, having led the New England Patriots to nine Super Bowl finals, winning six of them. He is currently the longest-tenured active coach in the NFL and one of only three coaches to win six Super Bowls.

He was offered the prestigious award last week.

Belichick and Trump have a long history together. He endorsed Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign and, during a rally in 2016, Trump read a letter from Belichick that congratulated him on a "great campaign." It appears as though the events of last week made it difficult for Belichick to accept.

"Above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for our nation's values, freedom and democracy," he continued. "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."

After the events of last week, Trump is facing a possible second impeachment. A resolution to invoke the 25th Amendment and begin that process will be put to the House on Tuesday.