Black Sports Icons on Support for Trump: ‘People Are Hoping He Comes Back’

Herschel Walker
AP Photo/Ben Gray

Black sports icons praised former President Donald Trump in a recent interview, as recent polls showing black support rising for the 2024 presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Semafor’s Kadia Goba spoke to a handful of them, who have known and been friends with Trump for decades, including boxing champion Mike Tyson, baseball star Daryl Strawberry, famed boxing promotor Don King, and football star and former Georgia U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker.

Goba wrote: “They had made deals together, weathered crises together, and shared family gatherings together. One had even chaperoned Don Jr. on a trip to Disney World.”

She added that while they were not a “stand-in for all Black people,” they “do represent a recognizable part of Black culture that Trump has long been plugged into.

Strawberry told Goba, “People are hoping that he comes back, a lot of athletes.”

“A lot of times people are afraid to say — they’re afraid of public opinion, and I’ve had public opinion my whole life…they were saying I couldn’t survive, I couldn’t make it. And guess what? I’m still here,” he said, adding he connected with Trump on being under public scrutiny.

Walker “adores” Trump, Goba wrote, adding:

He recalled how they became close in the 1980s, when he was also involved in Trump’s football endeavors. Walker volunteered to take a young Don Jr. to Disney World with his own family while his team was at training camp in Orlando. The ease with which a white New York businessman befriended ‘a Black kid who came from this little town with absolutely nothing,’ made a strong impression.

“I know the man has got a great heart,” he told her.

He rejected that Trump had a problem with black voters, and said he was sick of being asked to defend him as “a Black man, as if supporting Trump required an extraordinary explanation.” He said he advised Trump to go talk to black voters. “I said, you know, they love you,” he said.

Trump recently held a campaign rally in a heavily black neighborhood in the South Bronx during his trial last month in New York City.

A Bronx resident told Turning Point at that rally: “From my generation, from what I know, this is the first time a President has actually came [sic] to the hood. I know presidents have come to the Bronx before, but we’re talking about Woodlawn [and] Riverdale,” he said. “He has came to Morrisania, South Bronx — the hood hood. So I respect that.”

Tyson told Goba that like Strawberry, he also related with Trump.

Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson, Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

“If I never saw Donald Trump and didn’t know he was white, I would think that he was Black. … The way they were treating him in the papers and in the press? Think about that, the way they treat him in court? That’s the way they did Black people,” he said.

King has also once said, according to Goba, that Trump understood black people ​​because “no matter what you say or do, you are guilty as hell.” Rapper 50 Cent recently said during a visit to the Capitol that black men identify with Trump “because they got RICO charges.”

MILAN, ITALY – OCTOBER 22: 50 Cent performs at Mediolanum Forum of Assago on October 22, 2023 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Sergione Infuso/Corbis via Getty Images)

“Look at what happened to a lot of the people of color and right now the injustice that is happening with Donald,” Walker told Goba. “Right now, it’s almost just — it’s almost similar to that.”

In an interview, Trump told Goba that he would expand the First Step Act, which Goba wrote is the “most significant criminal justice reform package in years.” He also reportedly “boasted about granting clemency and pardons to some nonviolent drug offenders.”

“People have been treated very unfairly and it’s largely Black people,” he said, according to Goba. “It’s Hispanic people, it’s not just Black.”

It was not just older black sports figures that praised Trump.


Adrien Broner

Adrien Broner, Getty Images/Sarah Stier

34, told Goba about Trump, “That’s my n—a,” adding, “Trump’s the man. When Trump was in office, everybody was eating.” He also said, “He’s a man that means business. Just like me.”

Promoter Egypt Brown said support in the boxing world for Trump was “rooted in masculinity.”

“They don’t connect with Pride month as a fighter,” Brown said. “They don’t connect with women fighting with men in their sport because it’s all about competition.”

Goba said she heard a similar thing from an attendee at an event hosted by black Republican lawmakers Reps. Byron Donalds (FL) and Army veteran Wesley Hunt (TX).

“They intentionally promote the Black woman so she can look down on the Black man,” the attendee, 60-year-old Michael Blackwell, said. “So not only is society looking down at us, now the Black woman is because she got a hundred thousand dollars, got a career. She’s been conditioned to not need a man.”

Tyson said his fans who are skeptical of Trump tell him, “Yo, I don’t f— with your man [Trump], but he loves you.'”

He said,“They want to meet him. They ask me ‘what is he like?’”

Tyson said he tells them, “He’s a people person. … The common people voted him into office. It wasn’t no big shot that voted him in office.”

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