As evidence, Pearlman uncovered a letter to Trump from Tampa Bay Bandits owner John Bassett, whom Pearlman describes as one of the league’s nice guys, beloved by just about everyone involved with the USFL. That doesn’t mean he didn’t want to pummel Donald Trump, though.
Here’s the letter, in all its typewritten glory:
“You are bigger, younger, and stronger than I, which means I’ll have no regrets whatsoever punching you right in the mouth the next time an instance occurs where you personally scorn me, or anyone else, who does not happen to salute and dance to your tune,” Bassett wrote.
(The “kindest personal regards” closing slays me.)
Bassett died after a long battle with cancer in May 1986, and three months later the league announced it would suspend operations before the 1986 season got off the ground. Trump, of course, blamed everyone else.
“If there was a single key miscalculation I made with the USFL, it was evaluating the strength of my fellow owners,” he wrote in his book, “The Art of the Deal.”
He probably wasn’t talking about John Bassett.