Bill Belichick says he will not accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom award from Donald Trump due to last week's riot at the US Capitol which the US president incited.
The New England Patriots head coach had previously spoken about his friendship with Trump.
"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," 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. 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."
Prior to the 2016 US Election, Trump read out a letter from Belichick which congratulated him on a "tremendous campaign". Belichick subsequently said regarding him and Trump that, "Our friendship goes back many years".
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