Sports teams are hitting President Donald Trump where it hurts him the most: his wallet. Even before Trump’s crusade to force players to stand during the national anthem, professional teams were taking their business away from his hotels and other properties.
The Washington Post reports that sports teams from several leagues have dropped Trump Organization hotels across the country as their go-to places to stay since the start of his campaign in 2015.
In all, 17 teams from across the major professional sports leagues had stayed at Trump properties before 2015. Now, 16 of those teams have confirmed they stopped doing business with Trump. The remaining team, the New Orleans Pelicans of the NBA, has not publicly stated whether they intend to keep patronizing the president’s hotels during this season or not.
The Post contacted all 123 teams from the four major leagues, including the National Hockey League, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, and Major League Baseball. Not a single team would confirm it was planning to stay at any Trump property hotels (18 teams did not respond).
It’s unclear whether politics is driving the teams away from these properties. One team, for instance, cited logistical concerns, stating that it was difficult to transport the team from one of the hotels to the arena where they were scheduled to play.
Yet the departure of these teams might be indicative of a larger trend. With the many controversial statements and policies that Trump has pushed for, as a candidate and while serving as president, organizations across the country have distanced themselves from his properties or other brands. For example, at least 15 charities pulled away from hosting events at his Mar-a-Lago estate, with many citing Trump’s hostile rhetoric for why they chose other sites.
It’s reasonable to assume, then, that some of these teams made similar calculations, and pulled out of Trump’s properties at least partially because of the president’s demeanor. His attacks on pro athletes in recent months likely won’t change their minds, either.
When Trump described any athlete that takes part in a silent protest as a “son of a b****” during a campaign rally last month, the NFL Players Association condemned the remarks.
“This union will never back down when it comes to protecting the constitutional rights of our players as citizens,” NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said in response.
If these professional teams are indeed taking a principled stand against Trump, they cannot be blamed for doing so. Sports teams typically have diverse rosters, including people from a variety of racial backgrounds, toward which Trump has frequently been hostile in the past.
As Trump tries to push for a boycott of any sports team that allows its players to speak their minds on or off the field, it may behoove the president to consider how his own words or actions are hurting his bottom line. The boycott he’s promoting doesn’t seem to be picking up any steam — the same cannot be said for how his presidency is affecting his businesses.
Banner/thumb image credit: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters