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In the discussion thread: Trump and the fall of the USFL [View all]

Response to Jersey in OKC (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 06:29 PM

5. Remember the old debate about whether character matters?

In 1981, Trump tried to buy the Baltimore Colts, an NFL franchise. He backed a group that offered owner Robert Irsay $50 million for the team; the offer was rejected. Trump denied making the offer, but Irsay confirmed publicly that he turned the offer down.

In 1983, Trump instead settled for buying a USFL team, the New Jersey Generals. As Pearlman reports in one of the most fascinating insider anecdotes of his book, after committing to buy the USFL team Trump arranged a private meeting with then-NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle. He made clear to Rozelle that the USFL did not matter to him and that what he really wanted was an NFL team. According to a colleague of the USFL marketing man who was in the room for the meeting, Rozelle told Trump at the end of the meeting, “As long as I or my heirs are involved in the NFL, you will never be a franchise owner in the league.”

It was then that Trump approached the other USFL owners and said that the USFL, a league that played its games in the spring, needed to move to fall and get a big TV deal to challenge the NFL. He convinced USFL owners to sue the NFL for $567 million over its monopoly of fall television rights. The 1986 trial, USFL vs. NFL, lasted 48 days.

Pearlman calls it “the craziest lawsuit of all time.” As he describes the trial to Yahoo Finance, “Donald Trump is the star witness for the USFL. And he’s the worst witness in the history of mankind. And what the NFL did is they made him the enemy.” Pearlman even interviewed one of the jurors from the trial, who recalls Trump “staring her down” during his testimony.


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Jersey in OKC Feb 2020 OP
kimbutgar Feb 2020 #1
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maxrandb Feb 2020 #7
musette_sf Feb 2020 #3
Dread Pirate Roberts Feb 2020 #4
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Marcuse Feb 2020 #5
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