Bill Belichick, Patriots double down on supporting women’s football with $10K grant

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick gave a $10,000 grant to the Boston Renegades, Boston’s professional women’s football team, to empower women in the game.

Even to the Patriots fans who think they know him best, Bill Belichick comes across as someone who is serious about football.

So serious, in fact, that he doesn’t have time for Microsoft Surface tablets, SnapFace, or leisure activities outside of boating off Nantucket.

Belichick has made it clear that he is a private person, with New England journalists spending decades at the podium trying to get him to crack a smile or drop a morsel of information.

But there is a way to get to know the real Bill Belichick: by examining his good deeds.

Quietly, Belichick has long been one of the biggest champions for justice in the game. In 2021, he wore “Fritz Pollard” on his visor and spoke at length about the injustice Pollard faced as a Black athlete and coach in the 1920s.

As someone who honors the game of football, Belichick also honors those who respect the game and face unequal access and opportunity to play. This weekend, The Bill Belichick Foundation endowed a $10,000 grant to the Boston Renegades, Boston’s professional women’s football team. As grant recipient Sue Sheldon explained, the grant will “help us empower women and girls through football, especially for women with goals of pursuing coaching.”

Belichick joins Patriots leaders like owner Robert Kraft and safety Devin McCourty in publicly supporting the Renegades, a team that offers a mirror image to the success of the Patriots dynasty.

Bill Belichick and New England Patriots endorse the Boston Renegades

Women’s professional football may seem like a new trend, but women have been playing the game for more than a century. Unfortunately, ideas about the rigors of football being reserved for men, added to the culture of deeming women’s sports less competitive and less entertaining, has led to an environment that has made it difficult for women’s football to become well-known.

But not in Boston.

In Boston, people recognize Renegades wide receiver Adrienne Smith in the supermarket.

“It was some time last season, before Mr. Kraft even blessed us with the flight on the Patriots jet, I just happened to be going to a store before practice. And I’m in the store I had on a Renegades practice jersey, and then all of a sudden, people recognize me, and there was this, ‘Do you play for the Renegades?’ And I had to do a double-take. ‘Why yes, I do!’ I didn’t even realize that we had, I guess we’re becoming, more of a household name. It’s just a phenomenal feeling. I live in New York City, but I play for Boston, but all of my Boston teammates who live there, they say there’s something in the water. Boston constantly wins, and you could just make up a sport, like, flicking pencils into a cup. People in Boston would be the best at it.”

As Smith mentioned, Robert Kraft flew the Renegades to their WFA Championship in Canton, Ohio abroad the Patriots team jet. Unsurprisingly, the Renegades won the 2021 WFA Championship, adding to a dynastic streak that eerily mirrors the Patriots.

Formed in 2015, the Boston Renegades have already won three championships: in 2018, 2019 and 2021. Three Super Bowls in four years… sound familiar?

Another familiar fun fact: women’s football teams have been in Boston since 2001, another auspicious year in Pats history, and they’ve won six total championships.

That’s right: Bill Belichick just gave $10,000 to a women’s football legacy that’s been building alongside their own all these years.

“We definitely have Mr. Kraft and just the whole Kraft organization supporting us, and then Devin McCourty even gave us a shout-out when he started wearing his Boston Renegades t-shirt,” Smith told FanSided.

As far as encouraging women to become NFL coaches, Belichick’s grant allows more women to learn the game and cultivate an understanding from a coaching perspective in order to pursue an NFL career. Lori Locust, Katie Sowers and Jennifer King all played professional women’s football, proving the need to grow women’s professional leagues — because these leagues produce excellent players and coaches.

Belichick will never boast about his good deeds, but those who have benefitted from his kindness sing his praises. In the past, Cleveland Browns legend Jim Brown has spoken at length about how Bill Belichick is one of the most genuine philanthropists he knows.

Belichick has also spoken publicly in support of Armenia, a cause that is close to the heart of Berj Najarian, the Patriots’ “Director of Football/Head Coach Administration.” Najarian is proudly Armenian-American, speaking about his heritage in relation to his recent run in the Boston Marathon.

Both Belichick and the Patriots organization have been vocal about supporting Armenians as they call to have the Armenian Genocide more openly recognized. It was only recognized by the United States Congress in 2019.

These are a few instances of Belichick’s concern for others and his genuine fight for justice, both on and off the field. Belichick has never been one to gloat — we’re lucky if we catch a sly smile during a game — and the same seems true for how he conducts himself when he gives back. Belichick doesn’t brag about supporting sports across the nation for all people, but The Belichick Foundation has sent millions of dollars to support others.

Alongside the Boston Renegades, The Bill Belichick Foundation supported Adaptive Sports New England, Indian Nations Youth Sports, Special Olympics Hawaii, and many other groups. All in all, the foundation sent over $300,000 and gave athletes everywhere a chance.

That, too, is the Patriot Way.