During his first term in office, President Donald Trump often criticized athletes who spoke out on political issues, insisting that the two issues should remain clearly defined and separate. However, the links between sport and politics go far beyond the exchange of views between players and coaches on social and political events.
A new report released Wednesday by ESPN and FiveThirtyEight estimates that owners of professional U.S. sports franchises have donated an estimated $47 million to federal election candidates over the past five years.
In the 2020 election cycle, owners have so far donated $10 million to Republican campaigns and political action committees (PAC), with $1.9 million going to the Democratic Party. The split is consistent with historical data for the 2016 and 2018 federal elections, when the Republican campaign and Republican concerns received $34.2 million, while the Democrats received $10.1 million.
The NFL ranks fourth behind the MLB, NBA and NHL in both total contributions and donations to Republican causes. According to the Federal Election Commission, NFL owners have donated $5.9 million over the past four years either to the two parties or to campaigns associated with them. The lion’s share of the money went into the Republicans’ coffers, who received just over $5 million, compared to the $873,500 donated to the Democrats.
All donation figures are courtesy of the Federal Election Commission, while the breakdown of contributions for each PAC is based on data collected from the federal campaign contribution database OpenSecrets.org
Amy Adams Stunk
The controlling owner of the Tennessee Titans donated $400 to the Republican National Committee in 2016 and $25,000 to Gridiron PAC over the past four years. Although the PAC is non-partisan, 62 percent of the donations in this election cycle went to Republican organizations.
The principal owner of Arizona Cardinals has donated $74,900 to Republican causes this year and $3,500 to Democratic campaigns.
The owner of the Cincinnati Bengals donated $30,000 to the Trump Victory Committee this year, in addition to the $49,400 split between the National Republican Senate Committee and the Republican National Committee. Brown has also contributed to a variety of campaigns supporting Republican candidates in Senatorial and Congressional elections over the past four years.
Various members of the family controlling the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have contributed to Republican campaigns over the years, with Ed Glazer donating $50,000 to Trump Victory in 2016. Glazer has also donated $2,800 to the WinRed Republican Committee this season and supported a number of Republican candidates in congressional elections. Meanwhile, Bryan and Darcie Glazer have donated a total of $22,000 to Charlie Crist’s Congressional campaigns for 2016, 2018 and 2020.
The family has donated a total of $65,000 to Gridiron PAC in the current election cycle.
The owner of Cleveland Browns personally donated $100,000 to Trump’s inaugural committee, while his company Pilot Travel Centers contributed another $300,000. According to the FEC, Haslam has made 100 individual donations to a variety of Republican candidates and committees over the past four years.
This year, Haslam has contributed $688,000 to various Republican campaigns and committees.
The co-owner, chairman and CEO of Kansas City Chiefs has made several contributions to republican causes over the years. In 2016, he donated a total of $26,400, more than one-third of which went to the Keep The Senate Red Committee, while two years later he contributed $15,800 to the Republican coffers, including $2,700 for the campaign to support Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) campaign for re-election to the Senate. So far this year, Hunt has donated $5,600 to the Cornyn Majority Committee in support of incumbent Senator John Cornyn (R-TX).
Like some of his NFL colleagues, the owner of Jacksonville Jaguars donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee.
Last year, however, Khan distanced himself from the president’s approach to social issues and does not appear in the breakdown of FEC donors in the run-up to next week’s election.
Trump has often talked with his friend