One-time Patriot Chris Long applauds Bill Belichick’s Medal decision
Bill Belichick on Monday announced he is declining the Presidential Medal of Freedom that was scheduled to be presented to him later this week by Donald Trump, and one of his former players appeared to tweet support for the New England Patriots head coach’s decision.
Reports surfaced early in the week that Belichick would receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a White House ceremony on Thursday.
In a statement issued Monday evening, Belichick laid out why he would not participate, citing the “tragic events of last week” in Washington D.C., that were ignited by Trump supporters whose protests devolved into a mob storming, vandalizing and looting the U.S. Capitol Building.
Bill Belichick will not be accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Donald Trump. Here's his statement via @AdamSchefter pic.twitter.com/4YRZKxx82a— Ryan Hannable (@RyanHannable) January 12, 2021
Belichick added in the statement that “remaining true to the people, team and country I love” is outweighed by the “benefits of any individual award.”
Former Patriots player Chris Long, who won a Super Bowl with the Patriots during his one season with the team in 2016, seemingly applauded the decision made by Belichick, who was under pressure to decline the honor in light of last week’s unrest and violence.
Long tweeted out a GIF of Belichick getting doused with a Gatorade jug following one of the Patriots’ Super Bowl victories.
pic.twitter.com/jyOpREctpl— hydrated king chris long (@JOEL9ONE) January 12, 2021
Before announcing his retirement following the 2018 NFL season, Long was without question one of the most politically outspoken, not to mention charitable, players in the league. The reaction to Belichick’s decision by the retired NFL star, then, is hardly surprising.
Belichick, meanwhile, is known to have been a longtime friend of Trump, as has been the case with Patriots owner Robert Kraft and former quarterback Tom Brady over the years. Trump’s strong ties to the Patriots organization have been documented on many occasions during his presidency.
While it must have been a difficult decision for Belichick to make, it’s clear from his statement that the legendary coach felt it was the only one he could make given the circumstances.