Washington [US], January 12 (ANI): American football team New England Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick announced that he is declining the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which he was scheduled to receive from President Donald Trump on Thursday.
According to CNN, Belichick cited the reason behind his decision were the "tragic events of last week" where pro-Trump supporters wreaked havoc in the US Capitol last Wednesday.
At least five people died as a result of the chaos, including a US Capitol Police officer.
"Recently, I was offered the opportunity to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which I was flattered by out of respect for what the honour represents and admiration for prior recipients," Belichick said in a statement.
"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," he added.
CNN reported that a White House official said that the White House was made aware of the decision. Belichick has been the Patriots' head coach since 2000 and has won six Super Bowls, an NFL record for a head coach.
He told reporters after Trump gushed about the letter: "Our friendship goes back many years. Anybody who spends more than five minutes with me knows I'm not a political person. My comments are not politically motivated. I have a friendship with Donald." (ANI)