Bill Belichick isn’t known to talk about much beyond the New England Patriots and football when he’s chatting with media, but sometimes something else slips in. On Wednesday, the head coach deviated from the norm and discussed something personal to him: the Armenian Genocide.
Belichick found the opportunity to mention that due to an unexpected shoutout from Christoper Miller, the Acting Secretary of Defense.
Belichick hopes U.S. will defend Armenian people
Miller quoted Belichick in an introductory letter he sent to all Department of Defense employees on Monday.
“As we embark on this clear path forward, I often reflect on the simple, yet powerful, leadership mantra of the incomparable football coach, Bill Belichick, ‘Do your job.’ We are a team, and that should be our mindset.”
When speaking to media Wednesday, Belichick was surprised and gratified that Miller mentioned him.
“Well, I really appreciate the kind words from Secretary Miller,” Belichick said, via WBZ. “When you consider the type of leadership that he’s shown throughout his career serving our country, it really means a lot. I’m flattered by the reference that he made.”
Belichick used that opportunity to call for the United States to take action against several countries for their attacks on Armenians.
“I’ll just say, while we’re on the subject, I read his point about combating traditional threats. And I couldn’t help but think and hope that we’ve seen from other countries around the world, and I hope that our country will take action against Turkey and Azerbaijan for their unprovoked and deadly attacks on Armenians,” Belichick said. “We’ve seen that when a humanitarian crisis and things like that, like ethnic cleaning, go unpunished, that they just continue to happen. I hope that we can put a stop to that.”
Belichick has a history of Armenian support
It’s surprising to hear Belichick talk about anything that’s not related to football or the Patriots, but this isn’t the first time he has expressed his support for Armenians. He wore an Armenian flag pin on his lapel when the Patriots met with President Barack Obama at the White House in 2015, which he did at the request of Berj Najarian, the Patriots’ director of football/head coach administration and one of Belichick’s closest advisers.
Najarian is Armenian, and his grandfather is a survivor of the Armenian Genocide. He told Belichick about his grandfather and asked Belichick if he’d wear the pin when he met with the president. Belichick didn’t hesitate to put it on his lapel.
Belichick has continued to publicly support Armenians. He was in a video posted on Najarian’s Instagram page in late October, expressing his hope for justice and freedom.
“I have learned that throughout Armenian history, regardless of any adversity or tragedy, the Armenian people have continued to thrive and persevere,” Belichick said. “I hope and pray for peace, justice, and the safety of the brave soldiers that are fighting for their nation’s recognition and freedom.”
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