Donald Trump: Couldn’t Run A Football Team, Wants To Run The Country
Donald Trump is not a fringe candidate. We can joke about his toupee (or whatever that is), quote his “you’re fired” line back at him now that he’s been kicked off NBC for racist remarks, and mock his egotistical self-reference as “The Donald.” We must, however, recognize that this buffoonery is actually helping him in the polls. In the bizarro world of conservatives, Trump getting kicked off TV for racist remarks is evidence that he’s being persecuted by the politically correct thought police. Trump is now 2nd among Republican candidates, and his policy positions put him squarely within the mainstream of current Republican thought.
This means we must deal seriously with Trump as a possible Republican nominee. Since he has no actual experience in governing or public policy, Trump will claim that his success in the private sector qualifies him to be Chief Executive of the nation. There are two major problems with that claim, though. First, like many GOP candidates before him, Trump was born into a family with money and got his start in real estate with the Trump Organization — his father’s firm. Second, haven’t Trump’s business ventures have had mixed results over the years? Do you remember the United States Football League (USFL)? No? Well most people don’t, because Trump single-handedly destroyed it.
The USFL played their games in the Spring when the National Football League was in off-season, but it lasted only three seasons from 1983 to 1985. The league came along at an opportune time given that the NFL had just lost popularity due to a 1982 strike and the emergence of new cable network ESPN. Herschel Walker, University of Georgia All-American, and Jim Kelly, who would later lead the Buffalo Bills to four Super Bowl appearances, gave the league credibility. Americans were obsessed enough with football to watch it year round, and the USFL was getting attention and seen as a legitimate competitor to the older NFL.
Then Donald Trump came along. He bought up the New Jersey Generals, one of the league’s failing franchises. In a show of typical Trumpian greed and arrogance, he pushed to move the league’s schedule from Spring to Fall to challenge the NFL directly — even though the USFL was a fledgling league whose success had been built on picking up fans who wanted to keep watching football when the NFL wasn’t on. This shortsighted move spearheaded by bully Trump proved to be the league’s undoing. Trump hired lawyers to sue on the USFL’s behalf, claiming justifiably that the NFL is a monopoly because it broadcasts on all three major networks during football season. The court found in favor of the USFL but only awarded three dollars in damages because, while the NFL certainly was monopolizing football in the Fall, the USFL had not yet played a single Fall game. Seems Trump had jumped the gun by hiring lawyers. There was no 1986 USFL season, or any other thereafter, as the Trump imposed changes had sunk the league for good.
Some might dismiss this story’s relevance to Donald Trump’s current candidacy by stating that you can’t dredge up past events from 30 years ago. But really, one must realize that actions have long term consequences, as one can see by the fact that Trump tried to buy the NFL Buffalo Bills recently and had owners frown on his bid due to his past USFL shenanigans. Also, have you seen Donald Trump in the present? He shows no signs whatsoever of having matured in three decades. He is still the same egomaniacal shark who would step over anyone to pursue his own agenda — regardless of whether or not that agenda is a rational one.
From his mishandling of his USFL franchise to his racist rant about Mexicans, Trump has shown that his big mouth and ego will even get in the way of business deals that benefit him personally. This is not a man who could keep a cool head and act reasonably in dealing with Congress, let alone with Iran, Russia, Libya or Syria; and he is not a man that we need coming anywhere near 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Video: Trailer for ESPN’s documentary about the USFL, “Small Potatoes: Who killed the USFL?”