Professional teams across four major sports leagues that sometimes stayed in Trump hotels are apparently now finding different lodging while on the road, according to a report Thursday.
An investigation by the Washington Post found that none of the 105 teams that responded from the total of 123 franchises from the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, the National Hockey League or Major League Baseball would confirm that it stays at a Trump-branded property while on the road.
Of the teams that responded, 18 declined to comment and 71 indicated that they hadn’t stayed at Trump hotels in recent years. A total of 17 confirmed a visit to a Trump property within the past seven years, but that they had stopped booking rooms after Donald Trump launched his run for the White House in June 2015.
Of the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA teams that confirmed Trump hotel stays, all but one said they’re no longer checking into Trump’s hotels while traveling the country for road games.
Some of the franchises said the reason for the change had nothing to do with politics, but was rather due to the logistical challenges of getting in and out of hotels during their stay — specifically lower Manhattan to stay at the Trump Soho hotel. But some coaches and players have made it clear that Trump’s politics definitely factors into their decision to stay elsewhere.
“The president has seemingly made a point of dividing us as best he can,” Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr told the newspaper. “He continually offends people, and so people don’t want to stay at his hotel. It’s pretty simple.”
On Wednesday, President Trump said former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick should’ve been suspended for kneeling during the national anthem, his latest public foray into sports and the ongoing protests against racial inequality.
Trump last month disinvited the Golden State Warriors to the White House after guard Stephen Curry, LeBron James and other pro athletes condemned Trump’s comment during a political rally in Alabama calling for NFL owners to fire any “son of a bitch” who knelt during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Just two days earlier, James called Trump a “bum” for rescinding the invite.
The Trump Organization declined requests for comment, the Washington Post reports, but White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump’s attacks on sports teams had nothing to do with losing professional athletes as customers.
“The president has repeatedly said he doesn’t care about his business, he cares about the country,” Sanders wrote the newspaper in an email. “The president’s position on athletes standing for the National Anthem is about respecting the flag and the men and women of the military who sacrifice to defend it and nothing else.”
NBA teams paid about $20,000 per night for rooms and food at hotels like Trump Soho, according to one team’s estimate, the newspaper reports.
Jabari Parker, one of the young stars on the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, a team that stopped staying at Trump hotels after 2015-16, said the switch was definitely due to politics.
“I don’t care what haters think — I’m proud to not stay in Trump hotels,” the Bucks forward told the Sporting News in November. “I don’t support someone who endorses hate on other people. He ran his campaign on hate. He’s attacked everything that I am and believe. I was named by a Muslim man. My mother didn’t get her citizenship until much later in life. She is basically an immigrant because she came from Tonga. She was paid less because she was a woman.”