But long before the Trump presidency, The Donald had a history of talking about sports and trolling professional athletes. He’s made fun of owners and general managers, cast fictional hall of fame votes, and switched alliances.
Here’s a comprehensive list of every time Donald Trump has brought up sports or fought with athletes or other members of the sports world, compiled by searching the Trump Twitter Archive (because if he thinks or says something, you know he’s tweeted about it, too) and cross-referencing his remarks with athletes’ reactions. Are we missing any? Comment below or email us (email@example.com) so we can keep the running tally going.
July 13, 2012
The “Freeh Report” at Penn State finds legendary coach Joe Paterno and university administrators had known of assistant coach Jerry Sandusky’s child abuse for years and hid it from authorities. Trump tweets the Penn State program should be suspended.
July 16, 2012
Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez is struggling midway through the season, and Trump is not pleased.
Dec. 4, 2012
Robert Griffin III has swept Washington off its feet and delivered the Redskins to the playoffs. Trump is also an RGIII fan.
Jan. 14, 2013
Peyton Manning throws for 290 yards and three touchdowns in a playoff loss to Baltimore, but Trump only wants to talk about one play.
Jan. 17, 2013
It’s time to cast votes for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and Trump wants to help out his friend, Pete Rose, who is famously banned from the game for gambling.
March, 20, 2013
Who really knows what Trump means in this tweet? Regardless, he’s pretty upset the NFL is trying to make football safer. This is Trump’s first tweet criticizing the league, which has become a favorite target of his in recent months.
April 3, 2013
Rutgers fires men’s basketball coach Mike Rice after an “Outside the Lines” investigation reveals Rice physically and verbally abused players. Trump thinks Rice was going easy on the Knights.
May 29, 2013
Tim Tebow completed 6 of 8 passes for 39 yards in 2012 for the New York Jets, but Trump thinks he deserves another shot at the NFL.
July 26, 2013
Alex Rodriguez is back in Trump’s crosshairs during the Yankee’s injury- and scandal-riddled season. Rodriguez struggled to successfully complete minor league rehab assignments and was the public face of the Biogenesis steroid scandal. Trump is displeased.
Sept. 22, 2013
Grr! Trump is mad with the NFL again! This time, referees are throwing too many flags, making the Jets-Bills game unwatchable.
Oct. 29, 2013
Donald Trump is ready to be an NFL general manager.
Nov. 17, 2013
Rutgers defensive back Jevon Tyree claims an assistant football coach bullied and verbally abused him. Trump doesn’t buy it and harks back to the good old days when football coaches pretty much said anything they wanted.
And then, for unknown reasons, global warming makes an appearance in Trump’s Twitter tirade.
Nov. 18, 2013
And, we’re back on Penn State, a subject on which Trump has changed his mind. A day earlier, he claimed the university should fight the NCAA and the conclusions of the Freeh Report, and that by making a financial settlement, the school needlessly soiled Paterno’s legacy.
Feb. 23, 2014
Host country Russia wins 33 medals in the Sochi Winter Olympics. The United States wins 28, second best in the world. Trump is furious. He blames the loss on then-President Barack Obama.
April 5, 2014
The Donald Trump vs. Mark Cuban rivalry heats up! After Cuban was rumored to be interested in purchasing the Chicago Cubs, Trump makes sure he gets in a tweet to kneecap his wealthier rival.
Sept. 17, 2014
Trump goes on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” in the morning to lament the decline of the NFL, which he calls “the no fun league.” Days later, he claims the NFL is at the start of a death spiral.
And he says the IRS should revoke the league’s tax-exempt status.
Oct. 5, 2014
Trump is done with NFL football, he proclaims. Finished! The games are too slow and boring, and the game is getting too soft for his taste. He’s got to get back to work! Focus!
Feb. 1, 2015
The Patriots win the Super Bowl because the Seahawks throw an interception at the 1 yard-line as time expires. Trump says he would have known better than that.
He also begins picking on Marshawn Lynch, then the Seahawks running back and considered the best rusher in football. During the playoffs, Lynch famously refused to talk to reporters telling them he showed up at news conferences “so I don’t get fined.”
May 20, 2015
Tom Brady and Patriots owner Bob Kraft, one of Trump’s close friends, are in the middle of the Deflate-gate scandal, and Trump lends a hand.
June 16, 2015
Trump declares his candidacy for the presidency, and rides down an escalator at Trump Tower in New York to declare that Mexicans are rapists and that he’ll make America great again.
July 14, 2015
It seems Trump might run on a platform on honoring Pete Rose with this tweet, but he largely stays away from sports controversies during his presidential run.
July 29, 2016
Democratic primary debates coincide with Sunday night NFL football games, and Trump is very concerned Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is not getting his fair share of face time.
Nov. 8, 2016
Trump wins the electoral college, 304-227, but loses the popular vote by 3 million ballots or 2 percent of votes cast.
Trump takes office promising to end days of “American carnage.”
Trump has settled into the White House and after months of tumultuous governing has made the NBA champions Golden State Warriors wary of visiting to celebrate their title.
“My views haven’t changed at all. I don’t know if anybody’s changed. But that’s where I stand right now,” star guard Stephen Curry said. “I don’t want to go. That’s my nucleus of my belief.”
Fine, Trump said. Invitation revoked!
“Basically the things he said and the things he hasn’t said at the right times, we won’t stand for it,” Curry added. “By acting and not going, hopefully that will inspire some change when it comes to what we tolerate in this country and what’s accepted and what we turn a blind eye to.”
Then Trump began his most well-known spat with the sports world.
At a rally in Alabama for a failed Senate candidate, Trump told the crowd NFL owners should cut players who demonstrate during the national anthem, something quarterback Colin Kaepernick has done since 2016.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” Trump said at the rally.
The next day, every NFL team held some sort of demonstration during the national anthem. Some teams remained in the locker room during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Some players sat or knelt during the anthem or raised a fist in protest.
Trump doubled down with his attacks on players throughout the day.
Sept. 25-Oct. 23
Trump continues attacks on the NFL and its players, who continue to demonstrate during the national anthem.
On Oct. 8, Trump sent Vice President Pence to an Indianapolis Colts game with orders to leave immediately if players demonstrated during the national anthem. Sure enough, they did, and Pence and his wife Karen departed Lucas Oil Stadium before kickoff.
Three UCLA men’s basketball players, including LiAngelo Ball, are arrested in China on shoplifting charges. Trump helped secure their release and preemptively declared “you’re welcome.”
LaVar Ball, LiAngelo Ball’s outspoken father and founder of Big Baller Brand, refused to thank the president, though, which prompted Trump to tweet that he should have left the students in jail.
Trump still harps on NFL players who kneel during the national anthem.
Trump attends the first half of the College Football Playoff national championship game and appears confounded by the words of the national anthem as he stands with a color guard at midfield.
In a meeting with bipartisan legislators, Trump decries immigration from “shithole countries” including Haiti, El Salvador and the African continent.
Professional athletes, some of Haitian, Salvadoran and African nationality and descent, are quick to condemn Trump’s remarks.