New England Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick announced Monday night that he would not accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Donald 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,” said Belichick 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.”

On Sunday. it was revealed by the White House officials that Trump planned to award the coach with the presidential Medal of Freedom. The medal is the highest civilian honor that was established under President John F. Kennedy in 1963. As described on the White House official website, the award is given to those “who have made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

There was growing pressure for Belichick to not accept the award because of the recent riot that saw pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol building leaving six dead.

The New England coach has been a Trump supporter since 2016. Belichick told reporters, “Our friendship goes back many years, and I think that anyone who has spent more than five minutes with me knows I’m not a political person. To me, friendship and loyalty are just about that. It’s not about political or religious views.”

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