Sports leagues and owners have remained conspicuously silent in the four days since an insurrection incited by the president resulted in five deaths and protracted mayhem at the U.S. Capitol. The PGA of America broke ranks to make an unambiguous statement on the situation on Sunday.
The organization decided to strip the 2022 PGA Championship from Donald Trump’s New Jersey golf course.
“We find ourselves in a political situation not of our making,” PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh told the Associated Press. “We’re fiduciaries for our members, for the game, for our mission and for our brand. And how do we best protect that? Our feeling was given the tragic events of Wednesday that we could no longer hold it at Bedminster. The damage could have been irreparable. The only real course of action was to leave.”
Other sports leagues have no such connection to Donald Trump; he owns no teams and no stadiums. However, sports owners have supported him in the past, whether by making substantial donations, holding fundraisers, or providing him support and counsel. Indeed, at a time when people like former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney has resigned his position as Special Envoy for Northern Ireland, the silence of people like Jets owner Woody Johnson — the Trump-appointed U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom — becomes deafening.
Instead, people like Patriots coach Bill Belichick will be accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom this week. If Belichick had politely declined, no one would have ever known. By accepting, Belichick will be angering and alienating those in the fan base who have decided that Trump’s words and deeds since losing the election to Joe Biden amount to criminal conduct for which there can be no explanation or excuse.