Donald Trump Appoints Patriots Coach Bill Belichick to Sports Council: It's an 'Apolitical Issue'

The Super Bowl-winning coach has long been a fan of Donald Trump

It looks like New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick won’t just have his hands full with football come the start of the NFL season in September.

The 66-year-old coach will now be working with a slew of other sports celebrities to find ways to keep kids active, as part of President Donald Trump‘s newly rebranded Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition.

Belichick will join the likes of Dr. Mehmot Oz, Olympic beach volleyball champion Misty May-Treanor, former MLB pitcher Mariano Rivera, retired NFL running back Herschel Walker and golfer Natalie Gulbis on the council, according to the White House. They will serve two-year terms along with 17 others.

Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots Visit White House
John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe/Getty

While Belichick has previously expressed his support of Trump, the five-time NFL champion coach — who, like Tom Brady, is coming off a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII — said he would have taken up the position regardless of who was sitting in the Oval Office.

“The Council’s mission aligns with my beliefs and several of the Bill Belichick Foundation’s goals and values as they relate to sports, youth athletics and personal health and wellness,” Belichick said in the statement, according to the Boston Globe. “The physical fitness of children in our country is an apolitical issue that is extremely important to our future.”

5th Annual Irish Eyes Gala
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He added: “When I was contacted by Ivanka Trump and asked to participate, I was humbled to be asked and honored to accept, as I would have done for any administration.”

The initiative, which was previously known as the Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, had focused on children’s diet under President Barack Obama. That was until President Trump signed an executive order to shift his version of the council to concentrate on encouraging kids to sign up for sports.

“My Administration therefore aims to expand and encourage youth sports participation, and to promote the overall physical fitness, health, and nutrition of all Americans,” the order from February reads.

Also joining Belichick on Trump’s council will be Linda Yaccarino, NBCUniversal’s ad sales chief. She held the position during the last three seasons of Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice.

The appointment came just hours after Trump bashed NBC News on Twitter, calling the outlet “as bad as Fake News CNN.”

“This hockey & gymnastics mom has seen how valuable youth sports are to kids,” Yaccarino tweeted after the announcement. “It instills confidence, teaches teamwork & promotes a healthy lifestyle. I look forward to promoting this for America’s youth. Honored to be part of @FitnessGov Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition.”

Belichick famously wrote a congratulatory note to Trump just before he won the 2016 election.

“Congratulations on a tremendous campaign. You have dealt with an unbelievable slanted and negative media, and have come out beautifully — beautifully. You’ve proved to be the ultimate competitor and fighter,” Belichick wrote in the letter, which Trump read aloud at a campaign rally. “Your leadership is amazing. I have always had tremendous respect for you, but the toughness and perseverance you have displayed over the past year is remarkable.”

Trump has been friendly with Patriots staff throughout the years. He is longtime friends with Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who once gave the president a Super Bowl ring when the Patriots won the NFL championship in 2017.

Tom Brady also acknowledged his friendship with Trump in 2015, the same year a “Make America Great Again” hat was spotted in his locker. But that friendship seems to have shifted over the last year, as Brady has seemingly distanced himself from Trump. In December 2017, the New York Times reported that the president expressed “disappointment” over how their friendship changed.

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