Recently, an NFL ownership-level source told PFT that it could be difficult to muster nine votes to keep Donald Trump out of the world’s most exclusive club of billionaires. Another owner has told Gary Myers of the New York Daily News something very different.
“He did try to bring the NFL down,” the unnamed owner told Myers. “Certainly, a lot of owners aren’t around anymore. Maybe some of the new guys wouldn’t bear the same type of resentment that some of the older guys would. Do you think he would be a good partner for us or be somewhat of a maverick and be in it for himself? All questions that have to be asked. It’s not just the USFL stuff. Who knows how serious he is. He likes to have his name out there. Let’s put it this way: I don’t think his confirmation would be a slam dunk.”
Myers notes that 15 of the NFL’s 32 teams are still owned by the same person or family who owned those teams when Trump and his USFL cronies filed an antitrust lawsuit against the league. Of the 32 teams, 24 owners must approve the sale of the Bills to Trump. And Trump arguably has given some of the owners more incentive to oppose him with the intelligence-insulting claim that the USFL, not Trump, sued the NFL.
The AFL, with owners including the late Ralph Wilson, once battled the NFL toe-to-toe for players and fans and attention. Ultimately, the AFL and NFL put their differences behind them and made a stronger league. Trump would be wise to own what he did 30 years ago, and to hope that the owners who vividly recall the battles of the 1980s would be willing to treat Trump the way the AFL owners ultimately were treated.
“[Trump] said a lot of stupid things, and a lot of us still remember it,” said the unnamed owner, who reportedly laughed at Trump’s claim that he didn’t sue the NFL. “If he ends up being the only guy interested in buying the Bills, then he could be it. I know Jon Bon Jovi is a serious contender. I think there will be some competition.”
Bon Jovi may be a serious contender, but he may not have the cash. Trump apparently has the cash, but it’s unclear whether he’s serious about buying the Bills or whether he’s simply serious about generating free publicity by talking about buying the Bills.
Either way, if he’s going to try to buy the Bills, Trump’s best move would be to quit talking and start writing a check.