Lawmaker Urges Bill Belichick to Reject Medal of Freedom From Trump After Capitol Riot

President Donald Trump is expected to award New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick the Presidential Medal of Freedom, but a Massachusetts lawmaker has urged the six-time Super Bowl champion to reject the award.

After Politico reported Sunday evening that Trump plans to award Belichick with the medal on Thursday, Massachusetts Representative Jim McGovern called for the coach to reject it.

"I would refuse it, if I were Bill Belichick," McGovern said during an interview with CNN on Monday morning. "This president has made a mockery of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Look at who he has given it to in the last weeks, people like Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan. I mean, please, Bill Belichick should do the right thing and say 'no thanks.'"

McGovern said he'll be disappointed if Belichick accepts it, adding, "This president is not fit to be in office, so anything that he would bestow on anybody can be as meaningless and to accept it is disgraceful."

Newsweek reached out to McGovern's office for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

McGovern's comments come amid the fallout from the deadly riots at the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, the date Congress certified the electoral votes showing President-elect Joe Biden won the 2020 election. Rioters breached the doors of the Capitol and entered both the House and Senate chambers. Five people died in the violence.

Bill Belichick
Patriots coach Bill Belichick should reject the Medal of Freedom from Trump after the U.S. Capitol riot, Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern said on Monday. Here Belichick looks on during a January 3 game in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Adam Glanzman/Getty

The riot spurred many to call for Trump's impeachment or for Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, which details a procedure for replacing the president in the event that he is unfit the serve.

In addition to McGovern, several other notable residents of the state have also called on Belichick to reject the medal.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey made similar comments in a tweet posted on Monday.

"At a time when so many athletes and coaches are standing up for what's right, I hope Bill Belichick will reject this award," she wrote.

Michelle Wu, a candidate for the mayor of Boston, also called on Belichick to reject the award.

"After the violent insurrection he incited, the only public ceremonies Trump should be attending right now are his impeachment hearings. It's disgraceful to accept an award from him this week," Wu wrote in a tweet.

Last month, Belichick was appointed by Trump to the President's Council on Sports, and before the 2016 election, the Patriots head coach wrote a letter in support of Trump.

On Monday night, Belichick announced that he would decline the award from Trump, stating, "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."

"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," he wrote in the statement. "Continuing those efforts while remaining true to the people, team and country I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award."

Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Updated January 12, 2021, 10:25 a.m. ET, to include a statement from Belichick.