(The Hill) – ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said Thursday on the network that former President Trump called him during his bid to buy the NFL’s Buffalo Bills in 2014 and threatened to run for president if he didn’t become a team owner.
“If they screw me over, I am going to show them,” Trump said, according to Smith. “I’m going to get them all back. I’m going to run for president of the United States.”
Trump, whose bid to buy the Bills failed, launched his first presidential campaign in 2015 before winning the Republican nomination and the general election in 2016.
“It was him politicizing the situation for his own benefit to cause havoc for NFL owners who had screwed him over from becoming, from becoming an NFL owner and being a part of their club,” Smith said of Trump’s 2016 run.
Smith brought up the story about Trump during a segment discussing former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s potential return to the NFL after six years.
Kaepernick, who famously took a knee during the national anthem to protest racial injustice starting in 2016, was “politicized” and “hijacked” by Trump, Smith said.
“The narrative was hijacked by the former president of the United States for his own benefit,” Smith told his fellow commentators.