On the eve of Election Day in 2016, President Trump learn a letter of congratulations from the New England Patriots’ longtime coach, Invoice Belichick, who known as him the “final competitor and fighter” and mentioned that he had run a “great marketing campaign.”
Trump now needs to return the favor.
With simply days left in his time period, he plans to present Belichick the Presidential Medal of Freedom, setting off questions on whether or not Belichick will settle for the nation’s highest civilian honor after the riots on the Capitol final week plunged the nation right into a political disaster that would embody Trump’s second impeachment.
There have been requires Belichick, 68, to say no the award, together with on Monday from Consultant Jim McGovern, a Democrat from Massachusetts, who known as accepting it “disgraceful.”
“Invoice Belichick ought to do the appropriate factor and say, ‘No thanks,’” he told The Hill newspaper.
Senator Edward J. Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, additionally mentioned Monday that Belichick ought to flip down the award, which might be handed out on Thursday.
“That might be the day that Donald Trump is being impeached in the USA Home of Representatives for inciting an insurgency towards the USA,” Markey said of Belichick on Boston Public Radio.
It’s unclear whether or not Belichick, who has won the third-most number of games in N.F.L. history and a report six Tremendous Bowl titles as head coach, will settle for the award. The Patriots didn’t reply to a number of requests searching for remark.
With time working out on his presidency, Trump has been leaning into sports activities, awarding medals to athletes. However after the assault on the Capitol, the sports activities world is having second ideas about being related to the president.
Information of Belichick’s award surfaced on Sunday, the identical day that the P.G.A. of America mentioned it no longer planned to hold its 2022 P.G.A. Championship at Trump’s golf course in Bedminster, N.J.
“It has grow to be clear that conducting the P.G.A. Championship at Trump Bedminster can be detrimental to the P.G.A. of America model, and would put in danger the P.G.A.’s capacity to ship our many applications, and maintain the longevity of our mission,” Jim Richerson, the P.G.A. of America president, mentioned in a video assertion.
Nonetheless, few sports activities groups have been as carefully related to Trump because the Patriots.
The proprietor, Robert Ok. Kraft, has been a longtime good friend of Trump, who typically attended Patriots video games earlier than he was elected president. The group’s former star quarterback, Tom Brady, performed golf with Trump.
Trump has leaned on his relationship with the Patriots all through his 4 years in Washington. In 2018, he appointed Belichick to serve on the President’s Council on Sports activities, Health and Diet. Belichick was reappointed to the council in December.
The yr earlier than, Trump made it recognized he was rooting for the Patriots of their Tremendous Bowl victory over the Atlanta Falcons. The group accepted his invitation to go to the White Home after the sport, a ceremony that has grown more fraught in his term.
On the ceremony, Kraft gave Trump a personalized Super Bowl ring that included 283 diamonds, a nod to the 28-Three deficit that the Patriots overcame.
However Trump’s divisiveness has repeatedly put the Patriots in an ungainly place, notably in 2017. Only a few months after the group visited the White Home, the president repeatedly criticized the N.F.L. and its homeowners for not firing gamers who knelt throughout the enjoying of the nationwide anthem to protest social injustice and police brutality towards African-People.
Two years later, after the Patriots received one other title and lots of gamers publicly opposed the president, they did not make the trip to Washington due to what they mentioned have been scheduling conflicts.
Kraft, the Patriots proprietor, has recognized Trump for many years and considers him a good friend, however has additionally given cash to Democratic candidates and liberal causes.
Brady, who is now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, briefly saved a crimson “Make America Nice Once more” cap in his locker however eliminated it after being requested about it by reporters.
Belichick hardly ever speaks publicly about issues past soccer, not to mention American politics. However he did break his silence to induce the federal authorities to help Armenians of their battle with Azerbaijan over the disputed area of Nagorno-Karabakh. In a video posted on Instagram in October, Belichick requested for donations to the Armenia Fund. A couple of weeks later, he mentioned he hoped that the USA would take motion towards Turkey and Azerbaijan “for his or her unprovoked and lethal assaults on Armenians,” in line with The Boston Globe.
Belichick, although, didn’t name out the president, whom he considers a good friend, by title.
Whether or not Belichick nonetheless considers Trump a good friend after he urged supporters to storm the Capitol will not be recognized.
Many presidents have given the Presidential Medal of Freedom to sports activities figures. Final week, Trump gave it posthumously to the golfer Babe Didrikson Zaharias, in addition to two different golfers, Annika Sorenstam and Gary Player, who performed golf with the president in 2019. The previous soccer coach Lou Holtz, Tiger Woods and Mariano Rivera, the longtime Yankees reliever, are amongst an extended listing of others to obtain the award from Trump.
The award is for “particularly meritorious contributions to the safety or nationwide pursuits of the USA, to world peace, or to cultural or different important public or personal endeavors.”