Recent events have spurred a rocky relationship between President Donald Trump and a number of professional sports teams. Trump Hotels have been regarded among athletes as some of the most luxurious of their kind, offering not only a room to stay in but a lifestyle to live.
The Trump SoHo hotel has become a frequent destination for many National Basketball Association teams due to its proximity to Madison Square Garden, where the New York Knicks play, and the Barclays Center, where the Brooklyn Nets play.
Since Trump started his campaign in 2016, at least 12 teams across the NBA have ceased using this hotel. The Washington Post reached out to all 123 teams in the four major United States men’s sports leagues to find out how many teams planned to continue using Trump hotels. One hundred and six responded. None of the teams were able to confirm that their players stayed at Trump locations.
According to one team official’s estimate, teams paid about $20,000 per night for room and board at Trump hotels. Trump’s comments during his campaign and presidency have not only led to a drop in his public opinion but have cost him a ton of revenue and valuable marketing props.
These teams did not leave because of poor hotel conditions. In fact, many of the players had nothing but good to say about the properties. Players were seen doing interviews in the lobbies of Trump hotels, posting Instagram photos in their rooms and raving about the quality of their stays. It was incredible marketing for the Trump brand. He may know how to create a successful hotel environment, but it looks like he needs to work a little bit more in the public relations department.
At the beginning of the movement of NBA teams abandoning Trump hotels, many team officials were hesitant to comment on the motivation behind leaving. One of the first teams to leave was the Indiana Pacers. A spokesman claimed that the team had stopped staying at the hotel because of difficulties of getting a bus to the property. Other teams following this example also claimed there were no political connections to their decisions to leave the Trump hotels.
The players, however, were more outspoken. Milwaukee Bucks Forward Jabari Parker said during an interview with the Sporting News, “I’m proud to not stay in Trump hotels. 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.”
While some people would argue that sports have no place in politics and politics have no place in sports, these retractions have a lot to say about the crossover between the two and how they influence one another.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Oct. 30 print edition. Email Brianna Davis at [email protected]