Bill Belichick on Monday announced he would not accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Donald Trump.
DeMaurice Smith believes that was the correct decision.
Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, applauded the New England Patriots coach Tuesday during a conference call with reporters.
“I thought his position was extremely important, at this moment, for a person who has an extremely high profile in the National Football League,” Smith said, via Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal. “And frankly, I thought his statement was spot on.”
Belichick was scheduled to receive the nation’s highest civilian honor this Thursday but declined, citing the “tragic events” that occurred at the U.S. Capitol last week.
Here is Belichick’s statement in full, via ESPN’s Adam Schefter:
“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.
“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. 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. Continuing those efforts while remaining true to the people, team and country I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award.”