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Patriots Coach Bill Belichick Refusing to Wear ‘Salute to Service’ Gear

Patriots Coach Bill Belichick appears to be the only NFL coach not wearing any of the camouflage gear the league is sponsoring for its salute to the armed services promotion, despite his deep connection to the military.

Belichick has thus far refused to wear the patriotic gear to celebrate the league’s “salute to service” promotion. Over the last few weeks all other coaches have worn various parts of the gear on the field in tribute to members of our military.

Last week, ESPN’s Mike Reiss noticed that the Patriots chief was the only coach not in the camouflage gear, pointed out how Belichick is a “nonconformist,” and wondered how his recalcitrance is viewed at NFL headquarters.

According to league officials, the promotion was launched because “supporting the military is part of the fabric of the NFL.” The matter received attention at the Boston Globe as well as Yahoo Sports. Critics note that the league has taken millions of dollars in exchange for stadium promotions of the armed services. Given the coach’s tight-lipped nature, speculation suggests his refusal may stem from objections toward the cynicism of the pay-to-play promotions or for some other unstated reason.

It should be noted that Belichick’s disinterest in the promotion is certainly not born of any animus toward the U.S. military. The coach is well known as a big booster of our armed services having grown up in Annapolis, Maryland where his father served as longtime assistant coach at the U.S. Naval Academy. Belichick has also made multiple visits to Walter Reed Hospital to boost the spirits of wounded and sick veterans.

But Belichick also has a well earned reputation as a nonconformist coach who often remains absent from annual group picture of all NFL coaches and has refused to join the NFL Coaches Association.

He has even taken his refusal to go along to get along to the point of refusing to be part of the popular John Madden video games along with all the other coaches. In the game, Belichick is noted simply the “NE Coach.” In March he was asked about his absence in the game and he replied with a snide, “What Madden game? I have no idea. You should ask John about that.”

Back in February, Belichick also wore “Don’t Tread on Me” gear before the Super Bowl as a shout out to the Marines. The coach doesn’t seem to be finding much criticism for his refusal to wear the “salute to service” wear, though.

“Mostly Belichick is defiantly his own man,” Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel wrote on Wednesday. “He blazes his own trail and isn’t one to go along with something for the sake of going along with something.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com

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