New England Patriots players took issue with Bill Belichick's letter of support to Donald Trump in 2016, according to Seth Wickersham's controversial book on the Pats dynasty.
Trump read the letter from Belichick -- which congratulated the 45th United States president on a "tremendous campaign" and called him the "ultimate competitor and fighter" -- during a rally in New Hampshire. Wickersham claims this angered several Patriots players, who considered boycotting practice after Belichick's "hypocritical" explanation to the team.
Here's the full excerpt from Wickersham's book, titled "It's Better to Be Feared".
"In 2016, after then-presidential candidate Donald Trump read a letter of support from Belichick at a campaign rally, Patriots assistant coach Brian Flores told Belichick that several players were angry and that he 'needed to say something' to the team. Belichick addressed the team, but it didn't help initially. Many players felt he was being disingenuous. 'It was hypocritical and out of character,' a Patriots player recalled. 'I don't think he's an intolerant coach. He isn't a bad guy. Bill just f---ed up and justified it in a way that he would never accept from a player.' After the meeting, a small group of Patriots players considered boycotting practice but then reconsidered."
Belichick addressed the letter during a press conference after Trump's rally.
“Our friendship goes back many years,” he said. “Anybody who’s spent more than five minutes with me knows I’m not a political person. My comments are not politically motivated. I have a friendship and loyalty to Donald. A couple weeks ago, we had Secretary of State (John) Kerry in our locker room, another friend of mine. I can’t imagine two people with more different political views than those two.
"To me, friendship and loyalty, it’s just about that. It’s not about political or religious views. I write hundreds of letters and notes every month. It doesn’t mean I agree with every single thing that every person thinks about politics, religion and other subjects. I have wonderful friendships that are important to me. That’s what that was about.”
Belichick has served on the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition since 2018. Trump planned to award Belichick the Presidential Medal of Freedom, but the longtime Patriots head coach declined the offer following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Wickersham's book is set to be released on Oct. 12.