As is tradition, the New England Patriots, winners of Super Bowl XLIX, visited the White House to celebrate with President Obama one of the most exciting championship victories in recent memory. The team, led by head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft, assembled behind President Obama who congratulated them.
“I’m particularly grateful that Coach decided to dress up today,” Obama said, poking fun at Belichick who typically dons an oversized hoodie on the sidelines during games. “We had some scissors if he wanted to cut the sleeves off.”
But Belichick’s sartorial choices were spot-on—and political.
In addition to a fine suit, Belichick wore a pin of the Armenian flag to recognize the 100th anniversary of the what many consider the beginning of the Armenian genocide (April 24, 1915), during which up to 1.5 million Armenian were murdered by the Ottoman government.
In 2008, Obama, then a U.S. Senator, promised to recognize the event of mass extermination as a genocide were he to be elected president, which would have made him the first to do so. Now, the Obama administration, remains staunch in its refusal to deem the massacre as “genocide.”
Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.