"Subsequently, the tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award", Belichick said in a statement obtained by NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. "Let's bring the country together and move forward and return to being America, the greatest nation ever". I know I also represent my family and the New England Patriots team.
Belichick is one of the most successful football coaches in NFL history and owns the most wins among active coaches, reported AP.
It's noteworthy that the coach cited the Patriots' social justice conversations in his statement, as Belichick also talked about their impact at length in his season-ending press conference without any sort of prompting.
"I've received a number of inquiries relative to a note that I wrote to Donald on Monday", he said.
For all the talk that President Trump has "cheapened" the award by handing it out to sports stars such as golfers Tiger Woods, Annika Sorenstam, Gary Player, football player Roger Staubach, and political allies, he has been downright tightfisted with awarding it.
Kennedy established the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963 for people who've made exceptional contributions to national security interests, promoted world peace or achieved some significance in their lives.
Sports organizations and teams that have long supported Trump have been trying to sever ties in the last days of his presidency.
McGovern's comments come amid the fallout from the deadly riots at the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, the date Congress certified the electoral votes showing President-elect Joe Biden won the 2020 election. Belichick was expected to be given the once prestigious award on Thursday.
President Donald Trump is awarding the Medal of Freedom to Rep. "I would refuse it if I were Bill Belichick", Rep. Jim McGovern, whose district is in central MA, told CNN. "So anything that he would bestow on anybody to me is meaningless and to accept it is disgraceful".
The Patriots will be without the opportunity for hardware this postseason, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008, only the second time during the Belichick regime.