Editorial: Trump and his opinions should leave sports alone

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Remember in 2014, when Donald Trump wanted to become the owner of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills? He placed a bid to purchase the team for about $1 billion. Trump lost the bidding to the Buffalo Sabres (NHL) owners, who reportedly paid at least $1.1 billion for the Bills.

Also, remember in the early 1980s, when Trump became a team owner for a team in the upstart United States Football League? Stating in his pseudo-autobiography “The Art of the Deal,” he “liked the idea of taking on the NFL, a smug, self-satisfied monopoly”, according to an article on theintercept.com.

Trump’s first act as a team owner in the USFL was to challenge the NFL. He was at the forefront of moving the USFL season from the spring to the fall to compete with the NFL — it didn’t work.

Then, still in the 1980s, Trump and the USFL sued the NFL for having an illegal monopoly. The USFL went broke, but this time they defeated the NFL in court — the jury ruled in the USFL’s favour and awarded the league $1. Then the Sherman Antitrust Act, increased the $1 to $3 — the NFL was nice enough to send the USFL a $3.76 check.

Since all of this, Trump has befriended NFL owners. Before even becoming President, Trump was involved with NFL owners, and he tweeted about the NFL constantly. During Trump’s presidential campaign, NFL owners contributed at least $7.75 million to his inaugural committee.

So, all this tweeting about NFL’s players kneeling and other involvement Trump has had with sports since becoming President started way before 2017. However, we’ve become more inclined to give Trump more attention now for his sports takes, mostly because he’s president.

I think we can agree Trump should have no involvement or say in the NFL or any sports. Yet, we give him the attention he wants. We gave him the attention he wanted when it comes to politics and now he’s President. If we completely ignored him, he would still be a billionaire businessman doing what he does best —making money.

Yet, here we are awaiting his every tweet and opinion on sports — which are 100 times worse than Skip Bayless (if you know who that is).

This past weekend, Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch kneeled during the American national anthem, but stood for the Mexican anthem — the Raiders were playing the New England Patriots in Mexico.

Trump proceeded to tweet Monday morning: “Marshawn Lynch of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders stands for the Mexican Anthem and sits down to boos for our National Anthem. Great disrespect! Next time NFL should suspend him for remainder of season. Attendance and ratings way down”.

There’s also late last week when Trump said he helped release three UCLA basketball players from prison in China, after they were arrested for shoplifting. The president says he worked with China’s president to have the three university basketball players released.

Lavar Ball, the father of one of the players (LiAngelo), was asked about Trump’s help in releasing his son and teammates. Ball responded telling ESPN, “who?”.

Trump responded by tweeting: “Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I [should] have left them in jail”.

Trump also said that the three players were heading for 10 years in jail.

According to ESPN writer Arash Markazi the three players were never in jail. “[They were] staying at a luxury lakeside hotel for a week. Multiple sources on the ground with knowledge of the situation said they would be going home in 1-2 weeks,” Markazi’s tweet continued.

Sports are an easy in for Trump to stay relevant to a majority of the population. He doesn’t do anything as president, so he needs sports to seem important.

However, Trump has had involvement with sports way before his presidency. He’s just a petty old man that’s upset he doesn’t own an NFL team. He’s petty that the NFL only had to pay $3 after the USFL beat the NFL in court — he’s also petty the NFL jokingly added 76 cents to that $3. He’s petty the NFL outlasted the USFL.

Trump will never leave football or sports alone, but his opinions don’t belong in sport. Trump doesn’t even belong in politics. Yet here we are, living one dumb Trump tweet at a time.

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