Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is trying to pack the Republican National Convention with sports stars. Ivanka Trump, the presumptive nominee’s daughter, said in an interview that the convention was not going to be a “ho-hum lineup of typical politicians.”
Which is good planning by the Trumps, since so many ho-hum politicians, such as Jeb Bush or Mitt Romney, are not even attending the convention, set to take place in next week in Cleveland (July 18th through 21st.)
Ivanka Trump says the RNC will include “great American businessmen and women and leaders across industry and leaders across really all the sectors, from athletes to coaches and everything in between.”
So let’s talk about who is endorsing Trump and who is endorsing Hillary Rodham Clinton.
I should note that endorsement does not mean that these Folks will speak on behalf of Trump at the Republican National Convention. People are shying away from being on the stage with Trump, except for Bobby Knight who will be waiting in the wings to throw that damn chair Clint Eastwood left behind.
Actually, Reince Priebus keeps the Eastwood chair in his office and that is not a joke.
And let’s acknowledge at the outset that both teams have players who have been charged with domestic violence. Sadly, domestic violence is something our society endures and sports reflect that aspect of violence in our culture.
Here is Team Trump:
Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets
Don King, boxing promoter
Jack Nicklaus, retired golfer
Curt Schilling, retired pitcher
Mike Shanahan, retired or should be by now NFL coach
Bobby Knight, retired Indiana University Basketball Coach
Mike Ditka. Ditka.
Dennis Rodman, the NBA’s leading rebounder and pal of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un
Brian France, CEO of NASCAR
Hulk Hogan, wrestler and his pal, Peter Thiel of Paypal. Hogan has volunteered to be the Veep.
Pete Rose, retired baseball player and coach and gambler
John Rocker, retired MLB pitcher
Latrell Sprewell NFL
Dana White, UFC honcho
Mike Tyson, retired boxer
That’s a veritable sausage fest. I mean, is there an angrier bunch of dudes you could ever assemble for a fantasy anger team? Rapists. Bullies. Ditka.
Trump himself suggested a convention night theme called “The Winner’s Evening. ”
Hey Donald, I have a suggestion for a theme night at the RNC: “Some Angry Old White Men, but not exclusively.”
And Ivanka Trump was correct: there are athletes AND coaches. There are even a few TEAM OWNERS.
Bobby Knight, the former Indiana University basketball coach who led his team to an undefeated season, is reportedly scheduled to speak. Bobby Knight also known for berating players and ridiculed women reporters. He had won game after game but left Indiana’s basketball program under a haze of inappropriate behavior, including allegations of physical abuse of players.
And on this side we have Team Hillary Rodham Clinton. The list below includes people who have given campaign contributions or shown other support in other ways.
Baseball legend Hank Aaron–hosted a fundraiser
Hall of Fame Center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar endorsed Clinton. Because he’s erudite, Abdul-Jabbar wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post. He wrote: Still Classy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Jason Collins, the retired NBA player who was the first openly gay man in major-league sports, has actively been campaigning for Clinton.
Milwaukee Bucks coach Jason Kidd gave money
Retired Tennis star, feminist icon, and personal hero Billie Jean King is an active supporter of Hillary Clinton. Shocking, I know. King co-chairs the group Lesbians4Hillary, under the Lesbian Political Action Committee. Billie Jean King has this to say about Clinton: “Hillary Clinton is a proven leader and she has a strong track record when it comes to inclusion, specifically for women and the LGBTQ community.”
Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist ice skater Michelle Kwan is actively involved with the Democratic Party and a Clinton supporter. Olympic track star Carl Lewis and Olympic Diver Greg Louganis are also supporting Hillary.
Chamique Holdsclaw of WNBA tweeted her support for Hillary
Rory Babich, the CEO of the Florida Panthers hockey team gave money, as did the owner of the LA Kings, Vivek Ranadive
Abby Wambach-retired U.S. Women’s Soccer National champion is on the campaign trail for Clinton. And fellow soccer star Hope Solo is rooting Clinton
Hillary Clinton has a lot of fans in the NFL, too, including:
Retired wide receiver Tony Gonzalez
New England Running Back Jonas Gray
Steelers Legend: Franco Harris and current coach and future legend: Mike Tomlin
Retired running back and Cleveland legend Jim Brown
Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeff Lurie
Ray Mancini, boxer. Ray Boom Boom Mancini!
People can say that politics and sports don’t mix but there’s nothing new about sports heroes or sports villains endorsing candidates. Babe Ruth endorsed Al Smith over Herbert Hoover way back in 1928.
The Republican National Committee Chairman and native cheesehead Reince Priebus invoked politics a few weeks ago when he congratulated the Cleveland Cavaliers on their NBA Finals win against the Golden State Warriors. The Cavs, led by LeBron James, came back from a three-to-one deficit in a best of seven game series.
The Cavaliers are “just the first winner Cleveland will produce this summer!” said Priebus, alluding to the RNC to be held at Quicken Loans Arena.
So will Trump go into Cleveland and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat like LeBron James? Will Trump show Cleveland–and the world– that he came to win?
We will have to see. King James is known for his large hands. Trump, eh, not so much.