President Trump is no stranger to using grassroots campaigns to win political elections. But what about using the grassroots to defeat a rock star’s attempt to buy an NFL team? A new report suggests that President Trump did precisely that.
In 2014, rocker Jon Bon Jovi was attempting to purchase the Buffalo Bills. His efforts to purchase the team ultimately failed, due in large part to a fan group called 12th Man Thunder. According to the report, 12th Man Thunder caused a lot of damage to Bon Jovi’s bid by saying that the former singer intended to purchase the Bills, and then move the team to Canada.
According to ESPN, “Among the group’s antics in the spring of 2014 were the collection of thousands of petition signatures and distribution of “Bon Jovi Free Zone” posters calling for a boycott of his music in bars, shops and on radio stations. All of it received widespread media coverage, including from The Associated Press.”
Charles Pellien, a truck driver and the head of 12th man, said “At the time I wish I could have told people. I just wanted to blurt out, ‘Donald Trump is behind this!'”
As ESPN explains, “…according to Michael Caputo, a Buffalo public relations consultant who would go on to work on Trump’s presidential campaign, Trump himself came up with the idea for the group at a Trump Tower meeting in early 2014 as a way to tap into widespread fan anxiety at the time over a potential Bills move to Canada.
“Mr. Trump was convinced that the community wouldn’t stand for a move,” Caputo told the AP. “So he sent me off to try to organize something with local fans to get that rolling.”
Trump’s entire strategy was based on becoming the fan favorite in Buffalo. The purchase group that Bon Jovi belonged to, planned on bidding much more money than Trump. Therefore, turning the public against the idea of Bon Jovi, reportedly, became a paramount concern.
According to ESPN, “Organizers said Trump stepped away from even behind-the-scenes involvement after signing a nondisclosure agreement attached to the bidding process that barred him from doing public outreach around it.”
Bon Jovi countered by trying to assure the public that he was committed to making the Bills, “successful in Bufflao.” However, in the end, both Trump and Bon Jovi lost out. The Bills ended up selling for $1.4 billion to Kim and Terry Pagula.
Though, things worked out okay for Trump and for 12th Man. Trump became the most powerful man in the world, and 12th Man eventually became Bills Fan Thunder. A charitable organization that helps send children from poor backgrounds, to attend their first Bills game.
Who says no good can come from a little grassroots sabotage?