Let’s begin with a easy reality: Invoice Belichick is a rattling good soccer coach. Let’s take that additional: after main the New England Patriots to 9 Tremendous Bowls, and successful six, Belichick has constructed a really robust case to be the best head coach in NFL historical past. Right here is one other unavoidable reality: Belichick has additionally earned a staggering quantity of criticism in his 46-year profession. Then, on Monday he did what many thought unthinkable. Belichick, a taciturn old-school curmudgeon who appeared the very reverse of the progressive motion that has opposed Donald Trump, turned down the presidential medal of freedom after a Maga mob’s violent assault on the Capitol.
On Monday evening, Belichick launched an announcement saying that he could be passing on the honour. “Not too long ago, I used to be supplied the chance to obtain the presidential medal of freedom,” the assertion learn, “which I used to be flattered by out of respect for what the honour represents and admiration for prior recipients. Subsequently, the tragic occasions of final week occurred and the choice has been made to not transfer ahead with the award.”
The passive voice of the assertion, “the choice has been made,” means that this wasn’t solely Belichick’s name, besides, he must be praised for finally doing the proper factor. In rejecting Trump, Belichick is doing one thing that lots of the president’s pals and allies have refused to do regardless of the occasions of the final week.
And make no mistake, till this second, Belichick has totally established himself as being in Trump’s nook. When Trump was on the marketing campaign path again in 2016, he proudly shared a fawning letter apparently written by Belichick. “Congratulations on an amazing marketing campaign,” it started, in language that sounded suspiciously like Trump had written it himself. “You’ve gotten handled an unbelievable slanted and adverse media and have come out superbly. Superbly.” Contemplating Trump’s historical past of fabricating tales, there was justifiable skepticism that Belichick had truly written the letter.
Belichick, nonetheless, shortly declared his assist of Trump. “Our friendship goes again a few years,” he mentioned, “and I feel that anyone who’s spent greater than 5 minutes with me is aware of I’m not a political individual.” For somebody like Trump, who judges folks on how lavishly they reward him, this alone was most likely sufficient for Belichick to earn America’s highest civilian honor. Given how simple Trump is given to slights, there’s a superb probability that Belichick’s determination, irrespective of how delicately phrased on this assertion, has ended their friendship.
Past the non-public ramifications, Belichick has turned down what could be, in most circumstances, the nation’s most prestigious honor. It’s not one thing one does calmly and it’s an motion that might very effectively shock Belichick’s critics who’ve criticized the pinnacle coach for his “win in any respect prices” mentality.
Belichick’s Patriots, in spite of everything, have been on the heart of two high-profile dishonest scandals. Most notoriously, there was 2007’s Spygate through which the Patriots had been penalized for illegally taping their opponents’ alerts, adopted by 2015’s Deflategate. The latter was a decidedly foolish affair, one which Belichick claimed full ignorance of, however it added gasoline to the hearth to those that would put an asterisk subsequent to the whole lot of the Brady-Belichick period Pats. How a lot the Patriots have benefited from these incidents stays an open query, however Belichick’s teaching technique clearly has concerned – to some extent – taking part in quick and free with the principles. Come to consider it, it’s doable that Trump noticed him as a kindred spirit due to this as effectively.
In any case, even when he hadn’t had these blemishes on his teaching profession, Belichick’s public-facing character would have additionally assured him a spot among the many league’s least-loved figures. Past appearing as the pinnacle coach, Belichick can be concerned with placing collectively the on-field product. There’s little sentimentality in Patriots-land, Belichick the GM doesn’t hesitate to transfer on from even beloved gamers, whether or not he thinks they’re due for a decline or just will probably be too large of a wage cap hit. He’s additionally earned a status of being an on-field taskmaster.
The remainder of the NFL panorama joined collectively this season to rejoice the Patriots’ first shedding report since 2000. A few of this was as a result of sports activities followers develop to hate groups that win too typically. Simply take a look at the Golden State Warriors within the NBA for instance for a franchise that went from a bunch of lovable scrappers to a despised superteam in a handful of seasons. The reality is, nonetheless, that the most important cause the Patriots had been disliked, particularly now that Tom Brady was out of the image, was due to their head coach. It wasn’t simply that the Patriots saved successful, it was that Belichick appeared to take no pleasure within the course of.
In all chance, the non-public Belichick is a special individual than any of those numerous variations of Belichick: whether or not it’s the curmudgeon that pops up within the press convention, the conniving rule-bender that haunts his opponent’s imaginations, or the cold-hearted businessman who will commerce your favourite participant yesterday if it would save him a nickel tomorrow. There are many tales on the market about Belichick off-the-field that current him as being far more affable than any of the faces he reveals to most people. Heck, there’s even a rumor that he has a depraved humorousness.
We will’t actually know somebody’s inner-life, not for sure, however we will choose them by their actions. On this case, Belichick has executed the proper factor. In accordance with stories, Belichick was to obtain the medal in a personal ceremony on Thursday which might have been just a bit over every week since a pro-Trump mob, egged on by the president himself, waged an assault on the Capitol which led to the deaths of 5 folks. The occasion has led to an overdue reckoning over how radicalized and harmful the president’s extra hardcore supporters have turn into.
Proper now, in response, the Home of Representatives is launching impeachment proceedings towards the president. It’s underneath these circumstances that Trump, his days in workplace dwindling, was primarily planning to make use of what is meant to be the nation’s highest honor to pay again certainly one of his wealthy, well-known pals for saying good issues about him.
If Belichick accepted the medal from a disgraced would-be dictator days after an tried coup, he would have validated the very worst accusations of his most vehement critics. Throughout an period through which the NFL’s majority black taking part in corps have taken on white supremacy, Belichick would have been aligning himself eternally with a person who has executed a lot to advertise.
As a substitute, Belichick took a stand that concerned no small quantity of private sacrifice. For as soon as, at the least, Belichick proved his critics incorrect. The pinnacle coach ended his assertion commenting on the Patriots’ dedication to social justice: “persevering with these efforts whereas remaining true to the folks, workforce and nation I really like outweigh the advantages of any particular person award.” Typically, it seems, it’s not about successful above all.