We all know that Donald Trump loves “winners” and hates “losers.” He tells us that with regularity. So now the owner of the world’s worst comb-over wants to fill the stage at the GOP convention with people he says are “winners.” He even offered a list of who he would like to put in front of the convention to attendees at a Richmond, Virginia rally on June 10.
Now there’s no denying that most of the folks he named have won some major championships. But several of them bring some major baggage, that has tainted their reputation, and in the case of one, the only thing that makes him a winner appears to be his endorsement of Trump for president.
Submitted for your approval, here are the sports figures that Trump would like to see replace politicians for a night in Cleveland.
Knight was a tremendously successful college basketball coach. His teams won over 900 games, and Indiana University took home three NCAA national championships during his 29 year career at the school.
In addition for being known for winning basketball games, Knight is also known for his temper. He was arrested for punching a police officer during the 1979 Pan-Am Games, and in 1985 he threw a chair onto the court during a game. Indiana finally tired of his antics and fired him in 2000 after allegations that he grabbed a student by the arm and cursed at him.
OK, there’s no denying that Brady is a pretty good football player, and he has a very attractive wife (which in Trump’s book is very important). Brady has been in six Super Bowls, won four of them, and selected as MVP in three of them. But his reputation has been tarnished by the so-called “Deflate-gate” scandal where Brady was accused of using footballs that had deliberately been altered to let some air out of them and make them easier to grip. Brady was suspended by the NFL for the incident. That suspension was later overturned by a court, but reinstated on appeal by another.
That may not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it suggests that Brady is willing to cheat to aid his chances at winning. Not exactly the sports role model you want your kid to follow.
Like Tom Brady, Roethlisberger is a Super Bowl winning quarterback. But the Pittsburgh Steelers’ starting QB has faced allegations much more serious than those that Brady is dealing with. In the space of less than a year, Roethlisberger was accused of sexual assault by two different women. Roethlisberger’s lawyers reached an out of court settlement of the civil case brought by the first woman, Andrea McNulty, in 2012.
The second woman to make sexual assault accusations against the Steelers’ star was an anonymous college student from Georgia. That brought about a six game suspension from the NFL that was later reduced to four games. The prosecutor in Baldwin County did not bring charges against “Big Ben” because the victim asked him not to. Her lawyer made it clear that she was not recanting her story but rather that she didn’t want to be the subject of “extraordinary media attention.” Roethlisberger lost an endorsement deal thanks to the allegations.
White is the president of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). In 2012 White told the Montreal Gazette,
Yes, I’ve been arrested a few times. Nobody’s ever asked me that — ever asked me that. I’ve been arrested for assault. I got into fights when I was a kid. Street fights. Drinking as a minor. Stuff like that. Normal stuff that people get. I never robbed any banks or anything like that.
White has some bad news coming. The overwhelming majority of teens and young adults have never been arrested for assault, or for underage drinking, or for anything else for that matter. He’s right, it’s not as bad as robbing a bank, but you certainly can’t call getting arrested for anything “normal.”
NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France is a bit of an outlier in this rogue’s gallery of questionable characters who Trump calls “winners.” Like Trump, he just appears to be a bad businessman. France took the reins of the auto racing franchise from his father, Bill France, Jr., in 2003. During his father’s years at the helm, the sport grew from a localized southern attraction to a nationwide phenomenon. It now looks like the younger France is going to preside over the sport’s return to the pastime of “good ol’ boys” from below the Mason-Dixon line.
In 2012, NASCAR stopped releasing attendance figures for its events. That came after the numbers for the 2012 Daytona 500 revealed that some 40,000 fewer fans attended that race than did the 2011 edition of the contest. Robert Tuchman, writing at Forbes, observed in February 2015 that seats were being removed at a number of NASCAR venues across the country, and TV ratings were also down.
There may be other factors that explain the decline in interest in NASCAR, but France has done little if anything to bring fresh ideas to the sport.
Those are the names that Trump offered as examples of “winners” he would like to feature at the GOP convention. They range from the inept to those of questionable character to those whose alleged behavior has been downright criminal. But don’t be surprised — they’re all really cut from the same mold as the man they have endorsed.
Featured image via John Sommers II/Getty Images