Bill Belichick’s silence on the events of the past week is becoming deafening to some NFL analysts. The New England Patriots head coach has not, as of Friday afternoon, made an official statement about George Floyd’s death or the bigger issues involved in the Black Lives Matter protests that have broken out all over the country. Pro Football Talk‘s Mike Florio and NBC Sports Boston‘s Tom Curran noticed his lack of public comment in separate articles on Friday.
More than noticing Belichick’s silence, Curran wondered if the Patriots coach can still call himself a supporter of Donald Trump. The coach famously sent the president a letter of congratulations after he won the 2016 election. Curran believes that Belichick’s stance regarding his support for the president is relevant.
“Absent any kind of statement otherwise, it’s inevitable to wonder whether Belichick’s support of a president who — since 2016 — has found myriad ways to undercut, minimize, demonize and insult NFL players fighting for social justice remains as strong.”
Curran also pointed out several current and former Patriots players have gone public with statements in favor of the protests, with Belichick’s blessing. Matthew Slater, Benjamin Watson, Duron Harmon, Chris Long, and Martellus Bennett have all made their feelings known. Curran said it’s hard to reconcile Belichick’s support with what these players have been saying.
Florio pointed out Belichick is often quiet on matters like this, so it’s not all that unusual. However, the coach has waded into political territory before. The analyst wrote that when Trump asked Belichick if he could make his letter public, the Patriots coach sent an even stronger letter of support and told the president to do just that.
After being questioned about the letter, Belichick said he didn’t write it because of politics but because of “friendship and loyalty.” Florio wondered whether it’s time to question his friendship and loyalty to his players.
“Again, there is no middle ground,” he wrote. “There should be nothing political about this. Either you support equality, liberty, and justice for all, or you don’t. For NFL coaches, they either support the men in their locker room who are simply trying to get the things that America claims to freely provide to all people, or they don’t.”
Florio added that in the current climate, silence sends a message. He said the message might be even stronger than the one being passed along by those who are speaking out for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other people at the center of the protests.