We hadn’t been this confused since we tried to figure out the difference between “endorsing” and “supporting” a candidate: Was former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson going to appear at the Republican National Convention and not speak, or was he not coming at all?
Despite a Bloomberg Politics report late Tuesday that the pugilist was among the big names invited to the big political event by aides to presumptive nominee Donald Trump, it seems Tyson is not — repeat not — convention-bound.
Soon after the Bloomberg report, Trump tweeted what seemed to be a denial of the report. “Iron Mike Tyson was not asked to speak at the Convention though I’m sure he would do a good job if he was. The media makes everything up!” Ah, but the Bloomberg report said nothing about Tyson being asked to “speak,” only that he was among those being lined up to “appear,” so we were left in Tyson limbo, and a call to the RNC to clear things up wasn’t immediately returned.
Iron Mike Tyson was not asked to speak at the Convention though I'm sure he would do a good job if he was. The media makes everything up!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2016
But we reached a rep for Tyson, who tells us that the event is not most definitely on the schedule. “He hasn’t spoken to Donald Trump,” the spokeswoman said. “I don’t think he was invited at all.”
Trump has previously boasted about winning the support of the ear-biting boxer who was convicted of rape in 1992. “I love it,” Trump said at a campaign event in April. “You know, all the tough guys endorse me. I like that.”
Trump has said he planned to invite sports stars to the convention in place of the usual lineup of pols — presumably, they make for better TV.
Convention-goers can content themselves with other aging sports legends, including retired college basketball coach Bobby Knight and retired NFL coach Mike Ditka. And for entertainment at some of the ancillary events surrounding the official confab, look for Journey, the Beach Boys, Rascal Flatts, The Band Perry and Poison frontman Bret Michaels, Bloomberg reports. Other bands slated to perform at events in Cleveland include Kid Rock’s Twisted Brown Trucker Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
This post was updated from the original to include a response from Tyson’s spokeswoman.