U.S. football coach Bill Belich has come under intense pressure in the United States to reject a major award from US President Donald Trump. On Sunday, it was announced that the outgoing president would like to present the Independence Medal to the coach, the highest award a citizen can receive in the United States.
Belichick (68) has been the coach of the New England Patriots for twenty years, leading to at least six victories in the Super Bowl. Trump wants to differentiate between the successful and beloved coach in the last days of his presidency.
However, Belichick has been called on from various quarters not to accept the medal, as Trump has been seriously criticized for attacking Capitol by his supporters. On Monday, Democrats launched an indictment against Trump, who is due to hand over the presidency to Joe Biden on Jan. 20.
“If it’s true to accept the Belize Independence Medal from the infamous White House invader, he’s dead to me,” writes Boston Globe sports journalist Bob Ryan. “Please tell me you’re not going to do this, Bill.”
Jim McGovern, a politician who represents Massachusetts (the Patriots’ hometown) in the House of Representatives, says it is “shameful” for a coach to accept a medal. “The only right thing Bill Belich can say is no thanks.”
Belichic has not yet responded
Many fans of the football club are calling on Belize not to go to the White House to get the Trump medal. They fear it will tarnish the club’s name and cause conflict within the team.
Four years ago, when Trump first ran for president, Belichick showed himself to be a supporter. During his administration, Trump frequently clashed with NFL players, and he knelt before games to protest planned racism in the United States.
Belize and New England patriots have not yet officially responded to Trump’s request. The team, which has lost more than half of its games this season, has lost participation in the play-offs.