'The tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award,' he said in a statement.
Bill Belichick will not accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Donald Trump.
The longtime coach of the New England Patriots announced on Monday that he will no longer "move forward" with the accolade -- the nation's highest civilian honor -- after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol last week. Trump was planning to present the honor (first established by John F. Kennedy in 1963) to Belichick on Thursday.
"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," Belichick said in a statement to ESPN. "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. I know I also represent my family and the New England Patriots team."
"One of the most rewarding things in my professional career took place in 2020 when, through the great leadership within our team, conversations about social justice, equality and human rights moved to the forefront and became actions," he continued. "Continuing those efforts while remaining true to the people, team and country I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award."
The announcement comes just hours after CBS News reported that House Democrats officially introduced their article of impeachment against Trump, which charges him with "incitement of insurrection" for encouraging a mob of his supporters to descend on the U.S. Capitol in an effort to block Congress from counting electoral votes and reaffirming Joe Biden's victory. The outlet also reports that the article of impeachment was drafted by Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu of California, David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Jamie Raskin of Maryland, and was backed by at least 210 House Democrats.
"President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government," the resolution states. "He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a co-equal branch of government. He thereby betrayed his trust as president, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States."
Biden will be inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States of America on Wednesday, Jan. 20. Before Trump's Twitter account was permanently suspended, he told his followers -- and "all of those who have asked" -- that he would not be attending the ceremony. More on that in the video below: