Bill Belichick, arguably the greatest coach of all-time and most well-known as the head coach of the New England Patriots, has been chosen to receive the Medal of Freedom. President Trump only has a few days left in office and this would be one of the last things he did as a sitting president. There has been plenty of opinion about whether or not Coach Belichick should accept the award.
According to the White House’s website, the award “is awarded by the President of the United States to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” Also according to the page, it is the highest honor an American civilian can receive.
Belichick is not the first sports figure or even the first coach to receive the award from President Trump. Some of President Trump’s first honorees include Hall-of-Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, legendary baseball player Babe Ruth, and even Elvis Presley. The year after the aforementioned were honored, he honored Tiger Woods, one of the greatest golfers of all time, with the award. Basketball legends Bob Cousy and Jerry West have also received the award from the President. One of the best pitchers in the history of baseball, Mariano Rivera was given the award in the fall of 2019. Bill Belichick will join National Champion coach Lou Holtz as one of two coaches that President Trump has bestowed the award upon (Whitehouse.gov).
There is some pushback against Belichick receiving the award in light of recent events. While the timing is not the best, giving the award to Belichick has reportedly been planned for a while now. Belichick and Trump have also known each other for some time. Belichick even wrote a letter on behalf of Trump in 2016 (McGraw).
Twitter has been buzzing with people giving their takes on whether or not Belichick should accept the award considering where the country is right now. One of those calling for Belichick to decline the award is former NFL quarterback and current analyst, Boomer Esiason. On Monday he said, “I don’t want to take any great award away from anybody, but given the political climate right now and what happened at the Capitol, and how it happened, I just couldn’t step foot in the White House right now” (Fox).
Bill Belichick is scheduled to receive the Medal of Freedom this Thursday.
Canova, Daniel. “Bill Belichick Shouldn’t Accept Presidential Medal of Freedom, Ex-NFL MVP Says.” Fox News, FOX News Network, 12 Jan. 2021, http://www.foxnews.com/sports/bill-belichick-shouldnt-accept-presidential-medal-of-freedom-ex-nfl-mvp-says.
McGraw, Meridith. “Trump to Award Bill Belichick the Medal of Freedom amid House Impeachment Push.” POLITICO, POLITICO, 11 Jan. 2021, http://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/10/trump-to-award-bill-belichick-the-medal-of-freedom-amid-house-impeachment-push-457248.
“Presidential Medal of Freedom.” The White House, The United States Government, http://www.whitehouse.gov/medaloffreedom/.