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Pro sports teams flee Trump hotels in droves

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An investigation by The Washington Post uncovers the likely reason Donald Trump has made professional athletes and leagues Public Enemy No. 1.

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees
Donald Trump’s relationship with professional black athletes in one image (seen with then-New York Knicks star Amar’e Stoudamire in 2010 at Yankee Stadium).
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Washington Post investigative journalist David Fahrenthold, in collaboration with noted sportswriter Tim Bontemps, reported on Thursday that Trump hotels lost much of their professional-sports clientele during the lead-up to, and during, Donald Trump’s presidency.

During Trump’s candidacy, inauguration and presidency, politicians, scholars, journalists and voters expressed concerns about the potential for conflicts of interest between his running of the executive branch of the government and his business, from which he refused to divest interests and assets upon taking the oath of office.

As shown on the list Farenthold tweeted, the teams began fleeing Trump hotels in 2014. The Golden State Warriors stopped staying at Trump properties following the 2015-16 season, during which Coach Steve Kerr and players began speaking out about police killings of African Americans and Trump’s divisive rhetoric.

To the distant observer, Trump’s recent Twitter attacks against professional athletes — from Colin Kaepernick and any NFL player who kneels during the National Anthem, whom Trump referred to as “sons of bitches,” although they have been executing their first amendment rights to peaceful protest granted by the Constitution of the United States of America — seemed based on respect for flag and military. His followers were quick to jump on board in condemning these athletes, even though the focus of their protest has been and remains police killings of African Americans.

These followers were willing to condemn athletes for silently taking a knee while mentioning not a single word about a baseball player wearing a U.S. flag speedo, while getting showered in champagne.

Clearly, Trump’s displeasure with athletes was never about country, flag and military, or he would have unleashed a Twitter tirade about Houston Astros’ Josh Reddick taking a champagne shower while wearing an image of the flag on his buttocks and penis.

It might be about money, however.

Trump’s refusal to untangle himself from his businesses as required of any U.S. president automatically created a red-flag of suspicion. Myriad long-time politicians from both parties, along with journalists, have questioned Trump’s disrespect for the First Amendment — because it is, indeed, odd, that a leader of this country would to such lengths attack private citizens and businesses who disagree with his policies and rhetoric.

No matter the policy differences, U.S. presidents have typically respected the Constitution.

But The Washington Post report shines a glaring light on possible motive for Trump to go out of Stephen Curry for stating his refusal to visit the White House, or NFL players, for choosing to protest peacefully against police killings of African Americans.

Teams from all major sports leagues, and beyond, have been fleeing Trump hotels in droves since 2014, according to Bontemps and Farenthold:

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According to the report, the only properties not to take a financial hit are those in Washington, D.C. or his Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida.

So, in light of this information, the country is presented with a both chicken-and-egg scenario and a big question:

  1. Which came first — Donald Trump “poking the wrong bear,” leading to professional sports teams fleeing his properties and hitting him in the pockets? Or the professional sports teams leaving the properties causing him to lash out on Twitter? (And, will this information cause other teams to find other hotels in which to stay — or, conversely, inspire teams to stay or seek out Trump hotels?)
  2. When asked years ago if he’d run for president, Trump said famously that he had no ambitions but, if he would run, it’d be as a Republican, because he found them to be “stupid.” The video — which I viewed with my own eyes — has magically been removed from YouTube. But his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, had some interesting ideas to share on the topic. The question, therefore, becomes: Will Trump’s base realize there is nothing in it for them and withdraw support?