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"Mr. Trump, you're ... hired?"

Donald Trump's interest in Bills ownership raises eyebrows and ire


After eyeing New York's gubernatorial race, billionaire Donald Trump has set his sights on a new competition.

The list of celebrities considering a bid for the Buffalo Bills franchise, which is now on the market after owner Ralph Wilson passed away on March 25, continues to grow. Trump joins singer Jon Bon Jovi, Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, former Bills players Andre Reed and Steve Christie and Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly in considering ownership of the team.

Each name is surrounded by rumor, uncertainty and serious pros and cons - Trump is no exception.

The legitimacy of Trump's interest is questionable. He's developed a habit of making grandiose announcements only to later back down - his lamentable campaign prior to the 2012 presidential election has not yet faded from memory.

More recently, Trump backed out of the race for New York governor, while continuing to act as though he's a viable candidate for the 2016 presidential race. Trump saying that he's "serious" means little by now. "Serious" means he's interested enough to compose a tweet and that's about it.

And even if Trump is sincere, his rocky relationship with the truth isn't the only issue. He hasn't always gotten along with the NFL either. It's been almost three decades since Trump, as an owner in the United States Football League, attempted to take down the NFL with a $1.69 billion anti-trust lawsuit. But many of the franchise owners in the NFL at the time still own their teams today.

In order to be approved as an owner, Trump would need to be voted in - by some of the very people he attempted to sue, including Ralph Wilson's wife, who is now the controlling owner of the Bills.

Trump is far from beloved by the NFL, and he's not exactly a popular figure among the public. Even if he could mend fences with the former targets of his lawsuit, his public image remains one of greed, political buffoonery and, of course, that dreadful toupee. If Trump bought the Bills, Buffalo would be aligned with the billionaire and all his flaws.

And it's not just the team's image at stake. Trump is known for his narcissism, for his self-promotion and "maverick" style, but as a franchise owner he has to be able to cooperate, and put the team's interests ahead of his own. That's a pretty dramatic shift from Trump's typically bullheaded behavior.

But Trump, despite his polarizing nature - in fact, becauseof his polarizing nature - would certainly keep things interesting for the league. His outspoken and in-your-face personality would draw attention to the Bills. Fans will simply have to decide if any publicity, even Trump-generated publicity, is still beneficial.

Most importantly, Trump has stated that he would keep the Bills in Buffalo. While taking Trump on his word isn't exactly a comforting endeavor, it seems likely that he means what he says in this case, because moving the team simply wouldn't benefit Trump, who lives in New York.

But just as Trump is far from alone in his interest in the Bills, he's not the only contender who has pledged to keep the team in Buffalo. Trump's greatest selling point isn't his alone. Christie, Reed and Kelly, as former Bills players, all want to prevent relocation. But Christie and Reed, as members to the advisory board of the Buffalo Fan Alliance, would be reliant on fundraising efforts and loans in order to finance ownership. And, unfortunately, Kelly's health remains an issue at this point.

Trump may not be the best fit for the Bills. But Buffalo is, and he would keep the team where it belongs. If the Bills can't have Kelly, if former players aren't able to raise needed funds, if the team has to look a little further down the list, they might as well pick up a second-stringer who won't rock the boat - too much.

email: editorial@ubspectrum.com



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