Those with a keen eye noticed Bill Belichick sporting an Armenian flag pin on his suit during the New England Patriots’ visit to the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl victory.
His wardrobe choice came one day before the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. Belichick isn’t of Armenian descent, but it appears he had good reason to wear the pin.
According to the Armenian Mirror-Spectator, Belichick donned the pin at the request of Patriots director of football/head coach administration Berj Najarian, whose grandfather survived the genocide.
“It was a no-brainer,” Najarian said during an appearance at St. James Men’s Club in Watertown about asking Belichick to wear the pin. “He knew the pin, and recognized it. I?ve told him about my grandfather, and my history here in Watertown, Camp Hayastan and all.”
But Najarian didn’t stop there. When Belichick’s right-hand man met Barack Obama in the receiving line, he expressed hope the president would recognize the genocide when making an official statement on its anniversary. The White House had said earlier that week Obama would commemorate the atrocity but avoid calling it a “genocide.”
“That?s a tough one,” Obama reportedly responded. “I am trying to prevent future genocides.”
Najarian made one final push. “What about the Pope?” he asked Obama, a reference to Pope Francis recognizing the event as a genocide earlier that week.
“Well, the Pope doesn?t have a government to run like I do,” Obama reportedly answered.
It’s clear Najarian is passionate about the issue, and he used his unique platform and a little help from his head coach to courageously make his voice heard. At the very least, Najarian admitted, it was a moment he’ll never forget.
“Those 40 seconds at the White House were pretty special,” he said.
Thumbnail photo via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports