New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick is not a participant in the NFL Playoffs this year, but he still had the opportunity to make a White Hosue visit. President Trump extended an invitation for Belichick to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Belichick has denied the offer.

Following news of the declining, Belichick released a statement to ESPN.

“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,” Belichick wrote.

Advertisement

“Above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for our nation’s values, freedom and democracy. I know I also represent my family and the New England Patriots team,” he added. “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 concluded, “Continuing those efforts while remaining true to the people, team and country I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award.”