Trump’s long history of trying to stick it to sports: A timeline

Illustration for article titled Trump’s long history of trying to stick it to sports: A timeline
Image: (Getty Images)

Today is Election Day, and in a few hours (or days) we, hopefully, we will know the results of the most important Presidential Election in modern times.

Voting, and everything that comes along with it, has never been more popular. For instance, the National Basketball Players Association has made sure at least 90 percent of their members that are eligible to vote are registered. And at least 20 NBA facilities and arenas are being used as polling locations.

Trump is the sole reason why.

According to reports, more than 90 million Americans cast their ballots before today. And by the time it’s all over, Trump will have been a part of two of the top three highest eligible voter turnout elections in the last 50 years.

He’s provocative. He gets the people going.

A lot of those people are athletes. In the mid-80s, Trump “won” a case against the NFL that he thought would lead to a merger between the USFL and NFL. It didn’t, as it led to a measly $3 settlement. In 2014, he tried to buy the Buffalo Bills. As you know, that didn’t work out either.

However, Trump’s arrival in the Oval Office began a new saga with his involvement with the sports world. Because when an egotistical maniac gets elected to the highest office in the nation, he’s bound to start a war with an entity that’s continually denied him membership.

Below is a timeline of events that have occurred since Trump has been in the Oval Office. This is not “fake news.” All of these things really happened. It’s a reminder that the man whose backers will tell you that sports and politics don’t mix, support a man that loves to connect them, as he did yesterday attacking LeBron James and the NBA at a rally in Pennsylvania.

Saginaw Native. Morehouse Man. Syracuse (Newhouse) Alum. 2019 NABJ Award Winner. 2016 PABJ Journalist of the Year. I only eat my wings lemon-peppered. And I like brown liquor & brown women.

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June 2017

June 2017

Illustration for article titled Trump’s long history of trying to stick it to sports: A timeline
Image: (AP)

The 148-year tradition of championship teams visiting the White House was forever broken that month, as the custom became a burden rather than an honor under Trump.

The Clemson Tigers happily went to the White House, we found out the Golden State Warriors had already decided they weren’t going minutes after they won their second NBA Championship in three years. The Pittsburgh Penguins (above) couldn’t wait to go. And Roy Williams wasn’t going to make any promises about his UNC team.

“Let me think on it,” he said. “Again, I don’t know if we’re going to get invited. I really don’t.”

UNC never went to the White House.

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September 2017

September 2017

Illustration for article titled Trump’s long history of trying to stick it to sports: A timeline
Image: (Getty Images)

Jemele Hill told the truth about Trump, and the White House and ESPN lost their minds.

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called for Hill’s job.

“That is one of the more outrageous comments that anybody could make and certainly is something that is a fireable offense by ESPN,” she said.

ESPN hasn’t been the same since, while Hill is thriving and has multiple streams of income.

Hill’s words were proven true later that month when Trump called Black players kneeling during the national anthem “sons of bitches.” Because of it, social media became a circus, LeBron James called Trump a “bum” because Trump attacked Steph Curry and rescinded the Warriors’ White House invitation.

In the wake of it all, more NFL players than ever at the time took a knee, while NFL owners, along with Roger Goodell, released a statement siding with players, and against Trump.

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October 2017

October 2017

Illustration for article titled Trump’s long history of trying to stick it to sports: A timeline
Image: (AP)

Vice President Mike Pence took part in a staged walkout during the 49ers-Colts game in Indianapolis when the former Indiana governor left before the game even started, “upset” with players for kneeling during the anthem.

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November 2017

November 2017

Illustration for article titled Trump’s long history of trying to stick it to sports: A timeline
Image: (AP)

After being stupid teenagers in a foreign land, UCLA’s men’s basketball players LiAngelo Ball (above with father LaVar), Cody Riley, and Jalen Hill were stuck in China after they got caught shoplifting. Eventually, they were released and allowed to come home. Trump took credit for their return, even if he didn’t deserve it.

“Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you, President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!” he tweeted.

“To the three UCLA basketball players I say: You’re welcome, go out and give a big Thank You to President Xi Jinping of China who made your release possible and, HAVE A GREAT LIFE! Be careful, there are many pitfalls on the long and winding road of life!”

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January 2018

January 2018

Image: (Getty Images)

Flanked by military officers, Trump took to the center field for the national anthem of the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship Game between Georgia and Alabama. The teams weren’t on the field for the anthem, and people were angry outside of the stadium.

Leading up to the game, former White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders congratulated both teams for being, “from two great states, both in the heart of Trump country.”

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February 2018

February 2018

Illustration for article titled Trump’s long history of trying to stick it to sports: A timeline
Image: (AP)

Edwin Jackson, a member of the Indianapolis Colts, lost his life when he was killed by a drunk driver. Trump used his death as a political launching pad to spew rhetoric about his disdain for illegal immigrants, while being married to a woman who has a sketchy immigration status.

“So disgraceful that a person illegally in our country killed @Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson. This is just one of many such preventable tragedies. We must get the Dems to get tough on the Border, and with illegal immigration, FAST!” Trump tweeted. “My prayers and best wishes are with the family of Edwin Jackson, a wonderful young man whose life was so senselessly taken. @Colts.”

Later that month, Pence (above) was up to his antics again when he remained seated during the Unified Korean team’s introduction at the Opening Ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. The irony of the move happening just a few months after what happened at the 49ers-Colts game can’t be ignored. Pence also lied about a failed attempt to meet with figure skater Adam Rippon, one of two openly gay American male athletes that took part in those Games.

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June 2018

June 2018

Illustration for article titled Trump’s long history of trying to stick it to sports: A timeline
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A week after it was reported that the President told Jerry Jones that kneeling was, “a very winning, strong issue for me,” and that Jones should “tell everybody, you can’t win this one,” because “this one lifts me,” Trump uninvited the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles from the White House, a team with several players who have protested police brutality. Instead, he held a “Celebration for America.”

“The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow,” Trump wrote in a statement. “They disagree with their President because he insists they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country. The Eagles wanted to send a smaller delegation, but the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better. These fans are still invited to the White House to be part of a different type of ceremony — one that will honor our great country, pay tribute to the heroes who fight to protect it, and loudly and proudly play the National Anthem. I will be there at 3 p.m. with the United States Marine Band and the United States Army Chorus to celebrate America.”

Actual Eagles fans didn’t even bother.

But you know who did?

A team with Russians on it.

Later that month, the Capitals, with only a few Americans on their roster, were happily invited to the White House. They gleefully accepted the invite.

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July 2018

July 2018

Illustration for article titled Trump’s long history of trying to stick it to sports: A timeline
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Jerry Jones earned a pat on the back from his BFF when he became the first NFL owner to publicly say that players on his roster won’t have the option to stay in the locker room during the anthem, and must be present on the field, as the new policy was that “you stand at the anthem, toe on the line.”

“Way to go Jerry. This is what the league should do!” Trump tweeted.

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August 2018

August 2018

Illustration for article titled Trump’s long history of trying to stick it to sports: A timeline
Screenshot: CNN

The President’s ire for LeBron James was on display again when he was mentioned in an insult directed at CNN’s Don Lemon.

“Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!” Trump tweeted, also referencing his preference for Michael Jordan over LeBron in that long-standing debate. The comments were in reference to James saying he would never sit down with the President because he believes he’s “using sports to divide us.”

Trump would follow that up with a request to his supporters to take on ESPN, as it was then announced that the network would again refrain from showing the anthem before NFL games.

“Just after we heard a sitting governor (Andrew Cuomo) trash America, ESPN has now decided it will no longer play the National Anthem before Monday Night Football,” read an email signed by Trump. “If ‘America’ is too offensive for anyone in our country, then what are they doing in America?

“I’m calling on you to join me in denouncing this SPINELESS surrender to the politically correct liberal mob. I was the first person to sign this petition. Now I need you to follow my lead and be the second.”

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September 2018

September 2018

Illustration for article titled Trump’s long history of trying to stick it to sports: A timeline
Image: (AP)

If you haven’t noticed, Donald Trump takes everything as a slight. And this time he was pissed off at Nike for signing Colin Kaepernick to a new deal, making him the face of their “Just Do It” 30th anniversary campaign.

“Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts. I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way? As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!” he tweeted.

“I think it’s a terrible message and a message that shouldn’t be sent. There’s no reason for it,” Trump told the Daily Caller. “In another way, it is what this country is all about, that you have certain freedoms to do things that other people think you shouldn’t do, but I personally am on a different side of it.”

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January 2019

January 2019

Illustration for article titled Trump’s long history of trying to stick it to sports: A timeline
Image: (AP)

Only the world’s worst host would invite people to his home and only serve the food that he likes. That’s what happened when the Clemson Tigers showed up for their visit to the White House where a buffet of fast food was waiting for them. Some of the best athletes on the planet that were coming off the high of winning a national championship were presented with Chicken McNuggets.

Two months later, Trump did the same thing to North Dakota State’s football team.

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October 2019

October 2019

Illustration for article titled Trump’s long history of trying to stick it to sports: A timeline
Image: (AP)

When you show up to places uninvited people tend to let you know how they feel about it.

Trump learned that lesson when he popped up at Game 5 of the World Series between the Nationals and Astros. According to the Washington Post, the Nationals didn’t officially invite him. The President was met with boos and chants of “Lock him up!” There were also signs that read “Veterans for Impeachment” and a banner that hung from the upper deck that said “Impeach Trump.”

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November 2019

November 2019

Illustration for article titled Trump’s long history of trying to stick it to sports: A timeline
Image: (AP)

The boo birds were out yet again, as Trump showed up at a UFC match at Madison Square Garden. There were signs that read “Remove Trump” and “Impeach Trump.”

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January 2020

January 2020

Illustration for article titled Trump’s long history of trying to stick it to sports: A timeline
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After taking multiple losses at sporting events, Trump decided to play it smart by showing up at a game in which he would actually hear some cheers. The 2020 sports season began with the College Football Playoff National Championship Game featuring two teams in the heart of MAGA-land, Clemson and LSU.

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March 2020

March 2020

Illustration for article titled Trump’s long history of trying to stick it to sports: A timeline
Image: (AP)

Similar to this very moment, back in March, the coronavirus was wreaking havoc across the globe. And instead of turning to Dr. Fauci, or other experts for advice, Trump called Alex Rodriguez.

The son of Dominican immigrants, whom Trump has called a “druggie” in the past due to his PED use, was contacted in a “pleasant” conversation to access his thoughts on the coronavirus response.

I didn’t know members of the 40/40 Club had the cure for the world’s deadliest virus.

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April 2020

April 2020

No this was not that call.
No this was not that call.
Image: (AP)

When you’re an impeached President who has failed at protecting your country during a global pandemic at every stop, you’ll try anything. So in order to take the heat off him, Trump got on a conference call with sports commissioners in efforts to have sports to return by the end of the summer, without coming up with a detailed plan on how to make it happen.

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July 2020

July 2020

Illustration for article titled Trump’s long history of trying to stick it to sports: A timeline
Image: (Getty Images)

In true toddler fashion, Trump made up a lie about being invited to throw out the first pitch for a Yankees game, all because Dr. Fauci got the invite down the street at the Nationals’ Opener.

An hour before Dr. Fauci took the mound, Trump announced that he would be doing the same for an upcoming Yankees game.

“[Team President] Randy Levine is a great friend of mine from the Yankees,” Trump explained at an off-the-cuff White House press briefing. “And he asked me to throw out the first pitch, and I think I’m doing that on Aug. 15 at Yankee Stadium.”

According to a report from the New York Times, Trump made it all up. The Yankees weren’t aware of that plan, nor had they officially invited him. The White House was blindsided, too, as the event wasn’t even on Trump’s schedule.

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September 2020

September 2020

Illustration for article titled Trump’s long history of trying to stick it to sports: A timeline
Image: (AP)

With college football happening in the ACC and SEC, Trump got on the phone with Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren to offer his assistance. Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota and Iowa are states that Trump hopes to be red on Election Night, and they all happen to be Big Ten states.

“Had a very productive conversation with Kevin Warren, Commissioner of the Big Ten Conference, about immediately starting up Big Ten football,” he tweeted. “Would be good (great!) for everyone - Players, Fans, Country. On the one yard line!”

Back in August, the Big Ten had announced that football wasn’t happening. A few weeks later it changed its minds.

Fast forward to now, and Wisconsin has lost multiple quarterbacks to COVID-19 and Nebraska is willing to play just about anybody who will put on a pair of pads. This is what college football looks like in the Big Ten during a global pandemic, as Trump claimed to be the reason why the conference decided to play.

“I’m the one that brought back football, by the way,” Trump said during the debates. “I brought back Big Ten football. It was me and I’m very happy to do it.”

Money was the reason why the Big Ten decided to play, Trump had nothing to do with it. The conference’s total revenue for fiscal 2019 was more than $781.5 million, which resulted in a $55.6 million payment to the 12 longest-standing members of the 14-team conference.

That kind of money will always make you reverse course.

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Saginaw Native. Morehouse Man. Syracuse (Newhouse) Alum. 2019 NABJ Award Winner. 2016 PABJ Journalist of the Year. I only eat my wings lemon-peppered. And I like brown liquor & brown women.