President Donald Trump isn’t the type of person who will easily let go of an old feud. We know that. What we didn’t know until now was that his petty attacks against the NFL may be rooted in past business frustrations.
Shahid Khan, the Jacksonville Jaguars owner who was also one of the seven NFL owners to have donated heavily to the Trump campaign, said that Trump is obsessed with the league and how it does business because his 2014 bid to buy the Buffalo Bills failed.
"This is a very personal issue with him," Khan told USA Today.
.@NFL: Too much talk, not enough action. Stand for the National Anthem.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2017
Trump, who Khan calls a “divider, not a uniter,” took to Twitter Wednesday to make little of the NFL by saying the football league is demonstrating “total disrespect” for the nation by not forcing players to stand for the national anthem.
The NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem. Total disrespect for our great country!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2017
To Khan, these attacks demonstrate that Trump, a man known for his petulance, may simply be jealous. And that's why Trump will use any opportunity to attack the league and its members.
“He’s been elected President, where maybe a great goal he had in life to own an NFL team is not very likely,” Khan explained. “So to make it tougher, or to hurt the league, it’s very calculated.”
To the Jaguars owner, the fact that the president is accusing the NFL of lack of patriotism is rich, to say the least, especially after the president was harshly criticized for being disrespectful toward the family of an American soldier slain in Niger.
“It’s so bad," Khan said about Trump’s comments to the widow of a Green Beret, LaDavid Johnson. "It’s below the lowest of the lowest expectations. It doesn’t sound rational. It’s bizarre.”
Adding that the president is well known for being offensive toward a great number of people, Khan continued by saying that his beef with the NFL is all about power.
“Let’s get real,” he said. “The attacks on Muslims, the attacks on minorities, the attacks on Jews. I think the NFL doesn’t even come close to that on the level of being offensive. Here, it’s about money, or messing with — trying to soil a league or a brand that he’s jealous of.”
Still, to the Pakistani immigrant who became a billionaire in America, what Trump has done to others like him is what’s truly offensive.
“[S]omeone is getting a visa that will change their life is from a Muslim-majority country — and, now, boom, that dream to change lives, they get locked out,” he explained.
And that pales in comparison to the petty war Trump is waging against the NFL.
“That’s a hell of a lot more significant than fighting some sponsors or people who want their money back because they’ve been riled up,” he added.
When asked if he regretted being a Trump donor, he said he didn’t have any regrets in life. Still, he added, “[t]his ugly, toxic side sours the whole experience.”
It’s safe to say that, whether Khan realized it during the presidential campaign or not, it was clear from the get-go Trump was going to behave this way. After all, the president was already talking about a Muslim registry long before he was elected.
Perhaps Khan is right that pride and jealousy are what drive Trump’s fight with the NFL, but it was men and women like Khan himself, who chose to ignore the consequences of putting Trump in power, who are to blame.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Action Images via Reuters