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Belichick will not accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Trump

Yahoo! Sports Reporter Charles Robinson joined Yahoo Finance Live to break down how New England Patriots HC Bill Belichick won't accept the medal of freedom from Trump and what this means going forward.

Video Transcript

- Patriots coach Bill Belichick, he is now saying that he has declined the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He issued a statement which read in part-- we're going to read two parts of this to you-- first, "the tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award." He went on to say, "Above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for our nation's values, freedom, and democracy."

We want to bring in Charles Robinson from Yahoo Sports for a little bit more on this, and Charles, how is the decision being received in the sports world?

CHARLES ROBINSON: I think positively. I think that when you spoke to people in the Patriots organization on Monday, I think there were some white-knuckling. I think that the organization itself wasn't quite sure what Bill was going to do. It was Bill's decision. I had a chance to talk to a couple of people that are close to Bill and then also some people inside the Patriots organization. All of them said the same thing-- look, this is going to come down to what Bill wants to do here.

And I think what happened that no one could have anticipated was that Bill felt compelled to explain himself, and it's not something that he is known to do. He can make decisions and just say, look, that's what I decided and let's move on. But instead he puts out the statement. From my understanding this was written by Bill. Every word in there was motivated by his thought process. And I think that line, that I'm an American citizen, and he talks about values and freedom and essentially, the democracy that he supports, was a little bit of a rebuke of Donald Trump, who has been Bill Belichick's friend, historically.

So I think that it was received positively by the organization. I think it was perceived positively by the fan base. But I think seeing Bill actually go over the top to explain exactly how he came to the decision, what mattered to him, was really what provided the emphasis or the exclamation point in that statement.

- Charles, it's the kind of eloquent statement that even Cleveland Browns fans from long ago might forgive him for what happened decades. But what about the cynics who say that his decision, regardless of this statement, is really based on the financial considerations for the greater team? Should they be ignored, those people?

CHARLES ROBINSON: Well, look, there's always going to be cynics that are going to say this is a business decision. It's not motivated, really, by anything other than the economics. But the truth is Bill Belichick doesn't have to worry about economics. I think people forget he is a continent unto himself in the NFL, like a Jerry Jones, like a Stan Kroenke. There are certain individuals who, either through wealth or success, have far surpassed the ability of having to really worry about what other people think about them and the decision that they're making.

And Bill is going to go down as the greatest coach in NFL history. I think that is how we'll reflect upon his accomplishments, and he's still not done. And so I still think there are things at stake for Bill moving forward. When I spoke to people in the Patriots franchise, they're like, look, we can't lean on this guy. Like he's going to do what he's going to do, and he's not going to ultimately listen to anybody, including Robert Kraft. He's going to make this decision on his own basis and his own thought process.

And, again, I think it comes down to what he said in the statement. He didn't have to say here are the things I value. He didn't have to talk about being an American citizen and valuing democracy and freedom, and yet he did. And I think, to me, that was the disparity here. If Bill had just come out and said, I'm not going to accept it. Let's leave it at that and move it forward, then to me, that smacks of a business decision. But all of the context that he added into there made this feel, I think, far more personal than it really had to be.