Trump’s ongoing feud with the NFL over National Anthem-related kneeling could have turned out quite differently, if he’d gotten his original wish: To become an NFL owner himself. The then-real estate developer wanted to buy the Buffalo Bills football team circa 2014, and he went so far as to try and block a competing bidder: rocker Jon Bon Jovi, reports say.
In 2014, the rocker was in talks to buy the football team when a campaign materialized against him. A group called “12th Man Thunder” claimed that Bon Jovi wanted to move the team to Canada, collecting thousands of signatures on a petition, distributing “Bon Jovi Free Zone” posters and calling for a ban of the group’s music on the radio.
According to Michael Caputo, a Buffalo PR consultant, Donald Trump was behind it all — starting with the conspiracy theory that Bon Jovi would take the Bills up north: “Mr. Trump was convinced that the community wouldn’t stand for a move,” said Caputo, who later worked on Trump’s presidential campaign.”So he sent me off to try to organize something with local fans to get that rolling.”
Added Caputo: “[Trump] wanted to be the hometown favorite because he would keep the Bills in Buffalo. It was always his intention to come in here on a white horse and save the team.”
It was not to be. In the end, Buffalo Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula bought the team for $1.4 billion in September 2014 and kept it in the city.
One month later, Trump tweeted that he was glad he hadn’t scored the team.
“Even though I refused to pay a ridiculous price for the Buffalo Bills, I would have produced a winner. Now that won’t happen,” he wrote. “The people of Buffalo should be happy Terry Pegula got the team but I hope he does better w/the Bills than he has w/the Sabres. Good luck! The @nfl games are so boring now that actually, I’m glad I didn’t get the Bills. Boring games, too many flags, too soft!”