Looking at pictures and videos from last week’s game against the Green Bay Packers and this week’s versus the Detroit Lions, you can see New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick wearing a prominently displayed Croatian crest on his chest as well as the country’s flag on his sleeves. Why did he do that?
Turns out that Belichick is among the participants in a new NFL diversity initiative. In Weeks 4 and 5, the league is allowing players and other personnel to wear a country or territory’s flag that represents their nationality or cultural heritage.
Over 200 players, coaches and executives are participating league-wide, including Belichick. While the Patriots coach himself was born in Nashville and raised in Annapolis, his family is of Croatian descent.
His grandparents, Ivan and Marija, emigrated from the country in the late 1800s and settled in Pennsylvania in 1897. They would later get married and change their name from Biličić to Belichick. The couple had five kids, including Belichick’s father Steve (1919-2005).
Belichick was not the only Patriot to wear a flag during his team’s game in Green Bay on Sunday. A total of 20 members of the organization are representing their personal histories.