Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan says he knows the real reason Donald Trump is so obsessed with how the NFL does business.
"This is a very personal issue with him," Khan told USA TODAY on Wednesday.
Trump, whose bid to buy the Buffalo Bills in 2014 failed, "slammed one of his favorite punching bags again Wednesday, tweeting that the NFL is demonstrating 'total disrespect' for the nation because it is not forcing players to stand for the national anthem."
The league and its owners generally have had little public response to Trump, though New York Giants co-owner John Mara said, facetiously, “I’m shocked,” when asked for a response to the President's tweet. But Khan didn’t hold back.
“He’s been elected President, where maybe a great goal he had in life to own an NFL team is not very likely,” said Khan, who bought the Jags in 2011 for $760 million. “So to make it tougher, or to hurt the league, it’s very calculated.”
He reiterated a description he's used before in characterizing Trump, calling him “a divider, not a uniter.”
USA Today asked Khan if he was aware of Trump insulting the widow of a Green Beret, LaDavid Johnson, during a phone call Tuesday when he told her, “He knew what he was signing up for."
Khan shook his head.
“It’s so bad," he said. "It’s below the lowest of the lowest expectations. It doesn’t sound rational. It’s bizarre.”
Khan notes the irony of Trump accusing the NFL for a lack of patriotism and national pride while the President himself once again stands accused of great disrespect toward the family of a fallen soldier.
“Let’s get real," Khan said. “The attacks on Muslims, the attacks on minorities, the attacks on Jews. I think the NFL doesn’t even come close to that on the level of being offensive. Here, it’s about money, or messing with — trying to soil a league or a brand that he’s jealous of.”
Khan, a self-made billionaire who immigrated from Pakistan, contends that Trump’s flap with the NFL pales when compared to social issues, notably including Trump's proposed travel bans that target people from Muslim-majority nations.