Donald Trump enjoys football so much he sought to become an NFL team owner.
Trump also is a fan and a friend of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and – according to an ESPN report — offered money in 2008 to a U.S. senator, hoping to scuttle an investigation into the Patriots’ Spygate scandal.
In 2007, Patriots employees videotaped New York Jets practices, and that’s a big no-no.
A league investigation yielded punishments (fines and a draft pick).
Commissioner Roger Goodell then ordered the evidence destroyed.
The conclusions didn’t sit well with Eagles fan and then-Sen. Arlen Specter, who began his own investigation.
In a 2008 phone call, a friend of Specter’s — who knew Kraft – reportedly told Specter, “If you laid off the Patriots, there’d be a lot of money in Palm Beach.”
ESPN confirmed that Trump was that friend, citing Specter’s son, Shanin, and Charles Robbins, the ghostwriter of two of Specter’s two memoirs.
Shanin Specter told ESPN: “My father told me that Trump was acting as a messenger for Kraft. But I’m equally sure the reference to money in Palm Beach was campaign contributions, not cash.”
Election experts in the ESPN story said, “It’s a close call as to whether such an offer would be a bribe in the sense that it would be a prosecutable offense.”
Specter died in 2012, and spokespeople for Trump and Kraft denied the report.
Trump backed a group attempting to buy the then-Baltimore Colts in 1981 but that offer was not accepted.
In 1984, Trump bought the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League for $10 million rather than spending $50 million – he said it was a bad investment – to buy the Dallas Cowboys.
Jerry Jones bought the Cowboys in 1989 for $150 million. According to Forbes, the Cowboys are worth $5.7 billion today.