Bill Belichick addresses Donald Trump letter but is now 'on to Seattle'

ByMike Reiss ESPN logo
Wednesday, November 9, 2016

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick clarified his relationship with President-elect Donald Trump during a news conference Wednesday before launching into a rapid-fire series of one-word answers as he sought to move the conversation from politics to this weekend's game with the Seattle Seahawks.

After opening his news conference with a two-minute homage to the Seahawks, saying "there's no team or organization that I have more respect for," he addressed Trump, who read a letter from Belichick at a campaign rally on election eve Monday in New Hampshire.

"I've received a number of inquiries relative to a note that I wrote Donald on Monday," Belichick said. "Our friendship goes back many years."

He continued: "I think anybody that has spent more than five minutes with me knows I'm not a political person. My comments are not politically motivated -- the friendship and loyalty to Donald. A couple of weeks ago, we had Secretary of State [John] Kerry in our locker room [after a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers]. He's another friend of mine. I can't imagine two people with more different political views than those two. But to me, friendship and loyalty is just about that. It's not about political or religious views.

"I write hundreds of letters and notes every month," Belichick said. "It doesn't mean I agree with every single thing that every person thinks about politics or religion or other subjects. But I have multiple friendships that are important to me, and that's what that was about. So it's not about politics. It's about football. We have a huge game this week against a great football team, a great organization, and that's where it all is going forward. On to Seattle."

Tom Brady was also asked about his relationship to Trump, who said Monday that the quarterback supported his candidacy.

Asked whether he had voted for Trump, Brady said, "I talked to my wife and she said I can't talk about politics anymore. So I think that's a good decision, made for our family."

Brady did touch on how Trump has been a regular visitor to the team.

"He's been in our locker for a long time. He's been to a lot of games over the years and been in our locker room a lot, certainly at some of our bigger games, even going up against the Jets. That was long before he was ever a politician, too," he said.

"Like I said, you develop relationships with lots of different people and I've certainly come in contact with a lot of different people over the years, and some become your friends and you keep in touch with, and some you don't."

Earlier, a reporter asked Belichick whether he was "happy or annoyed that Trump had read his letter."

"Seattle," Belichick said.

He was then asked about keeping distractions away, and "given the nature of this presidential race ..."

"Seattle," Belichick said.

The reporter then said, "Did you find it ..."

"Seattle. Seattle," Belichick said, interrupting the reporter.

The reporter went on. "Helpful," he said.

"Seattle," Belichick said.

The reporter then asked whether the coach has talked to his players about it, or if they had discussed it with him.

"Seattle," Belichick said.

The reporter persisted, asking whether he had any concerns about "locker room rancor as a result of this."

Belichick paused for a long time, then said, "Good?"

At that point, the discussion shifted to the Seahawks.

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