Few in the sports world have been as outspokenly MAGA as Lou Holtz. The former college coach and broadcaster endorsed Trump in 2016 and has been a vocal supporter ever since. Today, Holtz was rewarded with a trinket before the Trump presidency officially comes to an end.
Holtz this afternoon received the National Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor, with his White House ceremony coming weeks after the former coach tested positive for the coronavirus. Before contracting the virus, he repeatedly compared the risks of playing college football in a pandemic to D-Day.
“The way it is right now, they just don’t want to have sports and there’s no way in this world that you can do anything in this world without a risk,” Holtz told Deadspin reader Laura Ingraham in July. “People stormed Normandy … they knew there were going to be casualties, they knew there were going to be risks but it was a way of life.”
Trump and Holtz, both COVID survivors, held the ceremony inside the White House with few in the Oval Office wearing masks.
A few months ago at the Republican National Convention, Holtz called Trump “an outstanding leader” who “genuinely cares about people.”
Holtz then made an even more egregious comment when he called Joe Biden “Catholic in name only.”
Even Notre Dame President John Jenkins had to issue a response on behalf of the University, saying, “we Catholics should remind ourselves that while we may judge the objective moral quality of another’s actions, we must never question the sincerity of another’s faith.”
If Holtz wanted to judge anyone’s faith, you think Trump’s status as a twice-divorced adulterer would raise a red flag.
The ceremony itself wasn’t a surprise. We knew it was coming and we knew the pleasantries that would be exchanged. So when Holtz called Trump “the best president of my lifetime” in his speech, it didn’t even register on the long list of ridiculous things he’s said.
When sports figures are awarded the National Medal of Freedom, their ceremonies aren’t usually partisan. But we’re still in the Trump presidency, after all. This citizen award for “honor” was political in a way only 2020 could bring.