Talk about superspreaders! Millions of dollars showered on Prez, GOP by NFL owners who allow fans in stadiums

Talk about superspreaders! Millions of dollars showered on Prez, GOP by NFL owners who allow fans in stadiums

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Jerry Jones
Image: (Getty Images)

So far this season, there have been 12 NFL teams that have allowed fans into games. Obviously, they’d all like to open their gates, and a lot of whether they do comes down to state and local regulations amid the coronavirus pandemic, but thanks to Donald Trump and his cabal of derelict ignorance, safety protocols also have become a political issue.

What, then, are the politics of the owners who are opening their doors to fans, creating potential superspreader events every Sunday? The answer… well, it won’t surprise you, but it does provide a further data point in just why the United States is having such a hard time getting COVID-19 under control.

Sorry to all the other Jesse Spectors for ruining your Google results.

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Dallas Cowboys, 2 home games: 46,729 fans

Dallas Cowboys, 2 home games: 46,729 fans

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Hopalong Ass-idy
Image: (Getty Images)

Jerry Jones, who in celebrating Dallas’ comeback win over the Falcons in the home opener preceded Trump in taking off his mask because he wanted everyone to see his face, thereby defeating the entire purpose of the mask, this week told a huge whopper about Trump on 105.3 The Fan.

“He’s the hardest worker you’ve ever seen,” Jones said about Trump’s virus diagnosis. “Knowing him, he’ll be able to go on right on through this and hopefully not miss a beat.”

Maybe Jones’ frame of reference for hard work is the 2020 Cowboys’ defense, because, uh… yeah. Anyway, Jones gave a million bucks to Trump’s inaugural committee — using a company called Glenstone Limited Partnership to obfuscate that he did so.

The most recent public donation by Jerral W. Jones, according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ opensecrets.org database, was $5,000 to Democrat Colin Allred in December of 2018. That’s weird, isn’t it? Well, Allred is a former Tennessee Titans linebacker who represents the 32nd district in Texas, a district previously represented by the last politician Jones supported with an on-the-record donation before Allred, that being the hyperconservative Pete Sessions. And it was only after Sessions lost that Jones donated to Allred. No hard feelings?

Jones also has donated to the National Republican Congressional Committee, Rob Portman, and Chris Christie.

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Jacksonville Jaguars, 2 home games: 30,663 fans

Jacksonville Jaguars, 2 home games: 30,663 fans

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Shad Khan
Image: (Getty Images)

The team that’s had the second-biggest crowds in the NFL this season also has an owner who was a million-dollar donor to Trump’s inaugural committee, Shad Khan.

Like Jones, Khan’s most recent recorded political donation was to a Democrat, in this case former Jacksonville mayor Alvin Brown, who lost in his 2018 Congressional primary bid against incumbent Alfred Lawson in Florida’s 5th district. Lawson held onto the seat in the general election. Khan also has donated to Republican John Rutherford, who represents Florida’s 4th district.

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Kansas City, 2 home games: 28,624 fans

Kansas City, 2 home games: 28,624 fans

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Clark Hunt
Image: (Getty Images)

Another donor to Sessions’ failed re-election campaign in 2018, Clark Hunt has donated to a swath of Republicans, most recently Sen. John Cornyn (Tex.), but also Josh Hawley, Roy Blunt, and former Kansas City defensive end Dave Lindstrom, who placed fourth in this year’s GOP Senate primary in Kansas. He hasn’t given money to Trump, but he’s also bent the knee noticeably when Trump has criticized the NFL.

Hunt gave $8,700 to Ted Cruz’s re-election campaign in the Senate. Cruz has most recently been seen looking like a bozo on CNN as his transformation from Trump rival to Trump bootlicker was long ago completed.

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Houston Texans, 1 home game: 12,102 fans

Houston Texans, 1 home game: 12,102 fans

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The McNairs in 2014
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The late owner Bob McNair loved giving money to entrench Republican power, and gave a million bucks to Trump’s inaugural committee. His widow Janice “has usually distanced herself from politics” according to CNBC, but that’s only by comparison, as CNBC said in 2019 that her “last donation to any committee related to Trump came in 2018, when she wrote a $5,000 check to the Great America Committee.”

Uh, sure. She also gave $203,400 on the same day as that $5,000 donation to the National Republican Congressional Committee. Yeah, they’re in no way related to Trump. They didn’t all vote not to impeach him or anything like that. Janice McNair also gave $10,000 to the Republican Party of Harris County last year.

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Miami Dolphins, 2 home games: 23,444 fans

Miami Dolphins, 2 home games: 23,444 fans

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Stephen Ross (c.)
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Stephen Ross was yet another million-dollar Trump inaugural backer, and this May, a couple of months after Republicans in the Senate voted to keep Trump in office, the Dolphins owner shot $70,000 over to the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He’s also given at least $38,000 this year to the conservative PAC South Florida Residents First.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 home game: 6,383 fans

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 home game: 6,383 fans

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L. to r., Joel, Bryan and their late father Malcolm Glazer introduce Jon Gruden in 2002.
Image: (Getty Images)

Ed Glazer has hosted a fundraiser for Trump, and this year has spent $5,400 trying to flip the Senate seat in Michigan held by Democrat Gary Peters. Glazer’s brother and co-owner Joel was a Hillary Clinton donor in 2016. Bryan Glazer plays it down the middle, having donated most recently to Charlie Crist and Rick Scott.

Thanksgiving should be fun for the Glazer house, shouldn’t it?!

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Cincinnati Bengals, 1 home game: 6,243 fans

Cincinnati Bengals, 1 home game: 6,243 fans

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Mike Brown (r.)
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Mike Brown is one of those “Trump’s tweets are the problem” guys. While he and wife Nancy have generally kept their recent by-name political donations to the NFL’s political action committee, Mike was a longtime donor to now-governor Mike DeWine (R), while Nancy gave $10,800 to the National Republican Congressional Committee in 2018.

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Cleveland Browns, 2 home games: 12,000 fans

Cleveland Browns, 2 home games: 12,000 fans

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Jimmy and Dee Haslam
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Jimmy and Dee Haslam, along with their company, Pilot Flying J, gave half a million dollars to Trump’s inaugural committee, though they did speak out when Trump ripped NFL players. Not that it’s turned them off to the death cult that is the Republican Party. Jimmy cut a $50,000 check to the Standing With Conservatives PAC and gave $10,000 to the Ohio Republican Party earlier this year, and his $22,400 worth of donations to Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) this year have dwarfed the $2,800 apiece he gave to Democratic Reps. Kendra Horn (Okla.) and Abby Finkenauer (Iowa).

Jimmy also has given more than $100,000 to the NRCC this year, as well as donations to on-the-ropes GOP Senators Martha McSally, Thom Tillis, and Cory Gardner.

Dee Haslam, who has hilariously listed herself alternatively as a homemaker and as a CEO on her disclosures, has made one personal political contribution this year: $5,600 to Mitch McConnell.

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Denver Broncos, 1 home game: 5,226 fans

Denver Broncos, 1 home game: 5,226 fans

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John Elway
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Broncos ownership has been kind of a mess since Pat Bowlen’s death, but franchise icon and current general manager John Elway gave $5,000 directly to Trump in 2019. This year, Elway has given $11,200 to try to keep Sen. Cory Gardner in office.

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Carolina Panthers, 1 home game: 5,120 fans

Carolina Panthers, 1 home game: 5,120 fans

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David Tepper
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David Tepper called Trump the “father of lies” before he was Panthers owner, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t given support to Trump’s various toadies. In 2016, Tepper gave $750,000 to the conservative SuperPAC New Day for America, and supported Marco Rubio. His only on-record donation this year is $200,000 to American Unity PAC, a group whose spending in 2020 has been a mix of for and against Republicans — in other words, think Lincoln Project.

Tepper basically is for things that will help him keep his money, but against the outright lunacy of Trump. His football stadium was at about 7% of capacity on Sunday, which treads that middle ground nicely enough.

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Indianapolis Colts, 2 home games: 9,980 fans

Indianapolis Colts, 2 home games: 9,980 fans

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Peyton Manning with Jim Irsay
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Jim Irsay gave $5,000 to the Indiana Republicans in 2018, staying quiet through his own name other than donations to the NFL since then… in other words, Black Indy Live nailed it with their 2017 headline, “Colts Kneel For Anthem, But Jim Irsay is Still Full of Sh*t.”

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New Orleans Saints, 1 home game, 748 fans

New Orleans Saints, 1 home game, 748 fans

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Gayle Benson
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Gayle Benson, another owner who took over the team upon the death of her husband, was a Jeb Bush donor for the 2016 GOP primary. She donated $50,000 to a SuperPAC supporting Democrat John Bel Edwards’ gubernatorial campaign last year. That donation was through corporate channels, much as Jerry Jones did as a layer of shield for his Trump donation. The attendance at New Orleans’ home game in Week 3 wasn’t the general public, but players’ and staffers’ family members. That was a test run for more robust attendance, and the team has asked to let the Superdome be a quarter full next Sunday, but Mayor LaToya Cantrell has yet to issue a decision.

That’s what so much of this ultimately comes down to — local lawmakers’ decisions about what to allow in their jurisdictions. But it doesn’t appear to be a coincidence that some of the teams that have been most aggressive about reopening their stadiums to fans, particularly the Cowboys and Jaguars, have owners who have been big financial boosters of the country’s most prominent pandemic bungler, the one who says not to let the virus dominate, and to get back out there.

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Sorry to all the other Jesse Spectors for ruining your Google results.