While some professional athletes and coaches have openly criticized Donald Trump, others have stood in his corner. But few have expressed their support as publicly as Herschel Walker. The NFL legend has a nearly four-decade relationship with the president dating back to his USFL days. And on Monday, Walker handed Trump his most powerful endorsement yet.
Herschel Walker starred for Donald Trump’s USFL team
Back when running backs still ruled the game, Herschel Walker ranked as one of the best. A Heisman Trophy winner at the University of Georgia, the freakishly athletic tailback piled up 5,259 yards and 76 rushing touchdowns in a legendary three-year college career.
Though he easily could have made the leap to the NFL, Walker elected to take his talents to the USFL. Of course, it helped that league rules allowed the highly-coveted prospect to choose his destination. Walker signed with J. Walter Duncan’s New Jersey Generals.
In his first year playing pro football, Walker racked up 1,812 rushing yards on 412 carries. The Generals would experience an ownership change after that dominant campaign. Duncan sold the team to Donald Trump, whose career in business and real estate made him a very recognizable figure.
After a solid second season with the Generals, Walker saved his best for his last. In what turned out to be his final USFL season, he set the pro football single-season rushing record with 2,411 yards on 438 carries. The USFL eventually folded after an ill-fated lawsuit by Trump. Meanwhile, Walker went on to play more than a decade in the NFL.
The NFL legend backed Trump in the 2016 election
Herschel Walker retired from pro football after the 1997 season. Renowned for his physical conditioning, he briefly competed in MMA. However, since hanging up his cleats and shoulder pads, Walker has also delved into politics. As a registered Republican, he has appeared in commercials endorsing various political candidates.
In fact, one of those candidates happened to be Donald Trump. The football legend openly supported Trump during the 2016 election. In fact, he even told TMZ Sports that his loyalty to Trump cost him speaking gigs.
Still, that did not dissuade Walker from putting his full-fledged support behind his former USFL boss. In a 2016 interview with NBC Sports Radio, the College Football Hall of Fame inductee offered an alternative view to those who called Trump a racist.
“I’ve seen [Trump] around people, I don’t know where he says those outlandish, crazy things,” Walker said. “And people say that he’s racist. But I’ve never seen anything that [made me] consider Donald is a racist. Because of the things — he’s said those outlandish things about building a wall — that doesn’t mean you’re racist when you say things like that.”
Walker just handed the president his most powerful endorsement yet
With the 2020 election right around the corner, the Republican National Convention took place on Monday. Only it probably came as a surprise to see Herschel Walker make an appearance at the event.
The 58-year-old ended up handing Donald Trump his most powerful endorsement yet. His speech covered a range of topics, as he tried to set the record straight on a person with whom he has had a friendship with for almost 40 years.
“I don’t think people really know Donald Trump. I think they look at Donald Trump from a tweet or look at from what he says, and they’re not looking at what he does,” Walker told host Laura Ingraham. “Donald Trump has done more in three years than almost most presidents have done in eight, and what’s so special about him is he cares about people and that’s what I wanted people to do.”
Walker even discussed his time in the USFL and how he saw Trump interact with various personnel. He said that the former Generals owner treated janitors, security guards, and waiters the same way he would treat a VIP.
“He made them feel special because he knew they were. He understands that they are the people who make this country run.”
Herschel Walker’s powerful endorsement of Donald Trump also included a strong statement about those who call the president a racist. To Walker, that could not be further from the truth.
“I take it as a personal insult that people think I would have a 37-year friendship with a racist,” Walker said. “Growing up in the Deep South I’ve seen racism up close. I know what it is, and it isn’t Donald Trump.”