Patriots

NFLPA praises Belichick for declining Medal of Freedom

Patriots

Bill Belichick's decision to decline President Donald Trump's Medal of Freedom has been well-received among his NFL peers.

Belichick wrote in a statement Monday he would not accept the nation's highest civilian award following last week's riots at the United States Capitol. After a number of current and former players applauded Belichick's decision and statement, NFL Players' Association director DeMaurice Smith praised the New England Patriots head coach on Tuesday.

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“Bill and I don’t share a lot of words,” Smith said during a video conference. “I know that’s going to come as a shock to everybody. But I thought that certainly his position was, I think, extremely important at this moment for a person who has an extremely high profile in the National Football League.

"Frankly, I thought his statement was spot on. He referenced standing with the players, referenced the conversations that were going on in his locker room about social justice, and while he recognized that it was an award that has honored a number of extremely deserving people in the past, he felt that at this time, at this moment in history that he should decline. I thought his statement was spot on.”

Belichick was reappointed to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition last month and has served on the council since 2016.