Short of someone laying down their life, has there ever been a more selfless act in American history? I mean, this isn't George C. Scott refusing his Oscar for "Patton" because he thought acting awards were stupid or the Sex Pistols telling the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame to go piss up a rope because, as Johnny Rotten said, "I'm not here for your amusement. You're here for mine." The Medal of Freedom is the highest honor a United States civilian can achieve. Awarded by the president of the United States "for especially meritorious contribution to (1) the security or national interests of the United States, or (2) world peace, or (3) cultural or other significant public or private endeavors." And as far as I know, this is the first time ever any of the hundreds of recipients who have been honored with the award since John F. Kennedy gave out the first that anyone has turned it down.
And why is Bill Belichick declining to accept? For the reasons he's always preached. For the greater good. To not put his own glorification ahead of that of the team, the players, and the ownership he represents. As his fellow Vulcan Spock put it in "Wrath of Khan," because the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one."
Many have talked that talk. Belichick is walking that walk. And in the process, turning his back on the culmination of the dream of any American citizen. And especially one who was raised in Annapolis by a coach from Naval Academy. This is what it means to be someone to whom words like "honor, code, loyalty" are more than just a punch line.
Just remember this the next time anyone you come in contact with tries to disparage this great man and noble leader. Trump awarded Belichick the Medal before things went all to hell at the Capitol last week. Just as he had sports figures like Tiger Woods, Mariano Rivera, Bob Cousy, Lou Holtz, Roger Penske, Alan Page, Jerry West, Roger Staubach, Annika Sorenstam and Gary Player. In fact, those names were all given a pass by people who hate Trump, because what they were receiving was such a high honor:
They all still have theirs. Bill Belichick does not. By his own choice. Because he followed his conscience and did what few people would have the selflessness to do. And in doing so, gave new meaning to the word he has embodied for 21 years:
And so end the second most legendary rejection of his storied career:
If Joe Biden doesn't re-award this great American the Medal of Freedom as soon as possible, impeachment hearings should commence immediately.