After a feverish 24 hours of speculation, Bill Belichick has declined the offer of the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Donald Trump.

According to reports that started streaming out Sunday evening, Trump planned to give Belichick the award Thursday. But a statement from Belichick on Monday made clear that wouldn't happen.

“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," the statement read. "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. Continuing those efforts while remaining true to the people, team and country I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award.”

Trump has given the award, which is the nation's highest for civillians, to several sports figures during his time in office. Recipients have ranged from baseball greats like Babe Ruth and Mariano Rivera to former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach and golfer Tiger Woods. Celtics legend Bob Cousy got the award in 2019.

Last Thursday, the day after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, Trump gave the award to three more golfers; Annika Sorenstam, Gary Player and posthumously to Babe Didrikson Zaharias.

Matt Katz, a professor at UMass Amherst who researches sport history, noted that sports have traditionally been used by presidents to reach a wider audience.

Trump has bestowed the honor on sports figures who have hovered more closely to his orbit, Katz added.

"Not long ago he awarded [the Medal of Freedom] to Lou Holtz who's another well known college football coach [who has] very publicly supported Trump and been a longtime friend of Trump," Katz said. "So I think it sort of fits that pattern of how Trump has used this award with sport figures that are either close to him personally or close to what we think of either what is his base or maybe what was his base."

Several, but not all, of the athletes and coaches — like Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Billie Jean King and Muhammad Ali — who have been given the award over the years by presidents from both parties had been active in pushing for larger change outside of the courts and fields they played on.

Katz pointed out that with Trump, that hadn't necessarily been the case.

"Trump's list is pretty interesting," he said. "Phenomenal athletes and presumably great people ... but not the vocal advocates for justice that you associate with this award. ...That's a noticeable shift in the types of athletes that have been awarded this medal over the last few administrations."

A notable exception was former Minnesota Vikings great Alan Page, who went on to become the first Black associate justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court after his playing days. He had been critical of Trump, but still accepted the award in 2018.

But that was before a riot at the Capitol forced the PGA to move its 2022 championship from Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey and caused Belichick, who had been an early Trump supporter, to decline the Medal of Freedom.