What’s going on with Donald Trump’s feud with the NFL? It’s partly about the protests, but sportswriter Jeff Pearlman thinks he’s also nursing a grudge.
Over the weekend, the GOP’s president unleashed an unhinged tirade of abuse against the NFL. During a Friday Night rally for Sen. Luther Strange (R-ALa.) in Huntsville, Ala., he vented his fury against team owners for allowing team members to protest police brutality against blacks, and even grumbled against NFL rule changes for reducing head injuries.
Yes, you read that right. The leader of the so-called Free World supports racism and head injuries.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s FIRED! You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, “That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.”
Then, he went on a Twitter rampage, attacking the Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry for not wanting to accept his invitation to the White House, and spewed forth more attacks against the NFL and its players.
During Monday Night Football, NFL teams took things up a notch as over 100 players across the nation knelt during the National Anthem. And in a stunning demonstration of support, Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones knelt and linked arms with his team on the playing field. Mind you, this man’s a staunch conservative and Trump supporter.
— Trump's not my Pres (@Nysteveo2AOLcom) September 26, 2017
Trump watching Jerry Jones and the Cowboys take a knee like pic.twitter.com/f9rO4FZJYZ
— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) September 26, 2017
In an interview with Newsweek, Jeff Pearlman — author of “Gunslinger: The Remarkable, Improbable, Iconic Life of Brett Favre,” “Boys Will Be Boys: The Glory Days and Party Nights of the Dallas Cowboys Dynasty,” and other sports-related books — explains Donald Trump’s feud with the NFL goes a long way back.
Back in the 1980s, Donald Trump desperately wanted to own a football team, but the NFL was having none of him.
“They just saw him as this scumbag huckster. He was this New York, fast-talking kind of con-man.”
Since the alleged real-estate mogul couldn’t get into the NFL, he joined their short-lived rival, the United States Football League (USFL) and bought the New Jersey Generals. Although his team did well, his drama and naked self-interest made him a lot of enemies. Plus, he so obviously only saw the USFL as a stepping stone to the NFL.
That didn’t go well, Jeff Pearlman explains. And he should know, he’s writing a book about the USFL that’ll be published in 2018. One USFL owner, the Tampa Bay Bandits’ John Bassett, even wrote a letter threatening to punch Donald Trump smack in the mouth.
If you never saw it, the late John Bassett once wrote Donald Trump—fellow USFL owner—the GREATEST LETTER EVER. Warning us from his grave … pic.twitter.com/GB6N5GrZRw
— Jeff Pearlman (@jeffpearlman) September 24, 2017
After the demise of the USFL, Donald Trump embarked on a string of failed efforts to buy teams, including the Baltimore Colts, the New England Patriots, and the Buffalo Bills.
And since Donald Trump’s got a case of sour grapes, he might as well mull them into a fine whine.
WATCH: ABC reports on Donald Trump’s assault on the NFL.
Featured image: Composite with official White House photo and video screengrab via ABC News.