2016 Election, Donald Trump, Elections, NewsEdge

Donald Trump carves out a new constituency: professional athletes

Published: Wednesday, September 2, 2015, 8:06:00 AM EDT
(Guardian Web)

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has received support from several unlikely groups – and now, it seems, he has one more in his corner: former professional athletes.

rodmanThe New York real estate mogul has received endorsements from a number of well-known athletes in recent weeks, including Heisman Trophy-winning running back Herschel Walker, all-pro NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens and NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman. And another pro athlete, Matt Light, a former all-pro offensive tackle for the New England Patriots, appeared at a Trump fundraiser inNorwood, Massachusetts, on Friday.

Light told the Guardian: “I think he’s not a guy that’s afraid to say it like it is and that’s what most of the people in this country feel that we need.” He went on to praise Trump as “a guy that’s willing to stand up there and take all the heat and say what he thinks and say what means”.

The retired NFL player didn’t quite endorse the current Republican frontrunner’s views on immigration, but he did say: “I agree with the fact that we need to protect our borders. We need to protect people around our borders.” He added: “Do we need people to have clear ideas? Yes. And does Trump have those things? Sure.” Light went on to say: “I think what Trump represents is a very important thing.”

But Light isn’t the only member of the New England Patriots to whom Trump has ties.

The Republican candidate talks on the phone with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who has spent the past few months with the “Deflategate” scandal hanging over him and who Trump calls a friend. The two even exchange notes as Trump revealed in a radio interview in late July. The billionaire gloried in this relationship at Friday’s fundraiser, telling reporters at a press conference that Brady “is a great friend of mine. I know Tom Brady. Tom Brady is an honest guy. He’s a great guy. He’s a great champion and winner.”

Trump’s relationship with pro sports goes back over 30 years to his tenure as owner of a pro football franchise, the New Jersey Generals, which played in the short-lived USFL. The league was founded as an alternative to the NFL that played its games in the spring. The league lasted only three seasons, and many people credit Trump for its failure.

The current Republican frontrunner pressed for the league to try to play games in the fall, head to head against the NFL and, if that failed, to sue the league under antitrust laws. With its teams facing growing debts and unable to suit up for games, the USFL ended up mounting a lawsuit that was ultimately unsuccessful (although they won on the merits, they were awarded only $3 in damages). As a result, the league folded.

Since then Trump, who was the captain of his high school baseball team, has considered buying at least one other pro sports team but has remained on the sidelines. However, the longtime Yankees fan has made friends with pro athletes on his home team. Upon the 2014 retirement of Yankees great Derek Jeter, Trump wrote on Facebook: “my friend Derek Jeter is a special athlete & special person –there is nobody like him.” But two years before, when Jeter broke his ankle several days after selling an apartment in a Trump-owned building, Trump immediately suggested on Twitter that it was karma:

Trump isn’t the only candidate to be supported by pro athletes in the 2016 Republican primary. Former Cleveland Browns quarterbackBrady Quinn endorsed Jeb Bush in August and, in a recent television appearance, NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley said he currently likes the Ohio governor, John Kasich.

  • Richard Bagenstose

    this should get gameboy oboma fired up , taking away the athletes , who’s he going to get to come over and shoot hoops with him , watch for the doj to start procecuteing them

  • MarcJ

    Does it matter to Trump fans that their man was a pretty big
    cheerleader for the stimulus, bailouts, and limiting executive pay? Here he is
    back in February 2009:

    Larry King: Is Obama right or wrong to go after these executives with
    salary caps?

    Donald Trump: Well, I think he’s absolutely right. Billions of dollars are
    being given to banks and others. You know, once you start using taxpayer money,
    it’s a whole new game. So I absolutely think he’s right.

    King: What about the whole concept of bailouts?

    Trump: Well, it’s a little bit different. A lot of people are not in
    favor of bailouts. You know, we talked about all the different things going on
    in this country. Let’s face it, Larry, we are in a depression. If they didn’t
    do the bailout, you would be in depression No. 2 and maybe just as big as
    depression No. 1, so they really had to do something. The problem is they’re
    giving millions and billions of dollars to banks and the banks aren’t loaning
    it . . .

    King: If you were in the Senate, would you vote for the stimulus

    Trump: Well, I’d vote for a stimulus plan. I’m not sure that all of
    the things in there are appropriate. Some of the little toys that they have are
    not really appropriate, and they’re a little surprising that they seem to want
    it, because the publicity on it has been terrible.

    And then he said to Greta Van Susteren,
    after the president made the pitch for his plan, “This is a
    strong guy, knows what he wants, and this is what we need.”

    He sounded pretty amenable to the final package when talking to Neil Cavuto.

    Cavuto: Are you for this Obama stimulus that was signed into law today?

    Trump: Well, something had to be done. And whether it’s perfect or
    not, nothing is perfect. And it’s a whole trial-and-error thing, Neil.

    Talking to Wolf Blitzer, Trump
    contended it was too small.

    Blitzer: What about the President
    of the United States? How is he doing?

    Trump: Well, he’s having a little
    bit of a tough time. I have great respect for him. And I love the way he ran
    the campaign. He’s having a few stumbles now and then. But I think he’s going
    to be really terrific. I certainly hope he’s going to be great. And I think he
    will be.

    Blitzer: And you like this
    economic stimulus package? The banking package? The home foreclosure package?
    God knows, there’s so many economic issues out there.

    Trump: Wolf, it’s a step. And
    it’s a big step. But relatively speaking, it’s not very much money when you
    look at the overall economy. But it is something he inherited, a total mess
    from Bush. And you know, we have to remember, he didn’t cause this problem.
    He’s trying to fix the problem. It’s not going to be easy. It’s very deep seated,
    and it’s even beyond this country.

    we not care about this stuff anymore? How does the guy who allegedly represents
    fury with business and economic elites get to endorse TARP? Why do the other candidates’
    deviations from conservative orthodoxy disqualify them, but Trump gets a pass?
    And who declared that B. Hussein Obama – our Marxist Muslim President from
    Kenya – was “terrific and great”? He referred to “a total mess from Bush”! But
    it was the Democrat majority starting in January 2007 that forced the
    banks and mortgage companies by threats of fines and prison terms to “sell”
    600,000 houses to “underserved minorities” who had no snowball’s chance in hell
    to ever pay for them. Did Trump forget the Carter’s Community Reinvestment Act
    enforced by threats of fines and prison from Democrat majority leaders Pelosi,
    Reid, Dodd and Frank? Those government-owned mortgage companies Fannie May and
    Freddie Mac went bankrupt and are now nationalized while sucking the federal
    teat for about $200 billion so far.

    the above facts I am forced to conclude that Donald Trump is just another
    low-IQ bloviating uneducated gasbag. And of course it is not the Chinese
    communists who stole our industrial jobs – it was the rapacious criminal unions who
    chased our industries abroad by their unreasonable wage demands and strikes and
    often even by violence and sabotage.

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