The other day I received an e-mail from a former USFL team owner.
He was a man I’d interviewed multiple times for “Football for a Buck: The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL,” and a guy who was very honest and real about the league. His basic take was that, yes, we should have survived, but we got greedy and selfish and self-absorbed. Later on, he surprised me by admitting that, in the 2016 election, he planned on voting for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. “I just can’t go with her,” he said. “No chance.”
The e-mail arrived out of the blue. And it said, more or less, that while he very much enjoyed the book, he wished I went a little more into the lie Donald Trump told under oath during the 1986 trial of USFL v. NFL.
The big white lie.
See, during his testimony Trump—freshly removed from swearing to tell the truth and the whole truth—said that Pete Rozelle, the NFL’s commissioner, promised him an NFL franchise should he abandon the USFL. This not only was a direct contradiction to Rozelle’s testimony (Rozelle also presented notes from a meeting he held with Trump; Trump had none), but a shock to the other USFL owners, who A. Wondered why one of their own was arranging a private meeting with the enemy; B. Knew (absolutely knew) there was no way in hell the NFL commissioner would casually promise a franchise).
NFL owners agreed—there was a 0.000000% chance Rozelle promised Trump a team. The idea was preposterous; a far cry from the way the NFL commissioner operated, and also a violation of roughly 10,000 league bylaws and guidelines.
That’s why I received the e-mail.
The 2018 lying of Donald Trump is the 1986 lying of Donald Trump. It is done casually, ruthlessly, sans thought, sans consideration, sans a sliver of ethics.
He lies about being a Christian. He lies about protecting minority rights. He lies about Russia. He lies about Saudi ties.
Just as he did, under oath, 32 years back.