In this March 1984 file photo, Donald Trump shakes hands with Herschel Walker in New York after agreement on a 4-year contract with the New Jersey Generals USFL football team. (AP Photo/Dave Pickoff, File)

Trump taps Herschel Walker to lead plum sports advisory council

The White House said Walker, former New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera and beach volleyball gold medalist Misty May-Treanor would serve as co-chairs of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition.

In addition to the co-chairs, the White House released a list of new members for the council, including Dr. Oz, Mehmet Oz and The Hulk actor Lou Ferrigno.

The 62-year-old council creates and promotes programs designed to motivate Americans to “adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and good nutrition,” according to its website. 

Walker’s appointment doesn’t exactly come as a surprise. 

Trump and the legendary running back have a friendship going back to the mid-1980s, when Trump purchased the New Jersey Generals for his short-lived United States Football League. Walker had signed with the team after his junior year at UGA, playing there for three seasons before joining the Dallas Cowboys in 1986. 

Walker also appeared on Trump’s reality TV show the “Celebrity Apprentice,” and was an early and outspoken supporter on the campaign trail in 2016. The Heisman trophy winner was scheduled to speak on Trump’s behalf at the Republican National Convention in summer 2016 but cancelled at the last minute to be with a sick friend. 

Still, the Wrightsville native said he has paid a price for defending Trump, including losing speaking engagements and fielding criticism from the African-American community. 

Walker is not the only African-American who’s received backlash for supporting Trump. Rapper Kanye West drew a fresh round of criticism for his tweets praising the president earlier this week. 

Read more: 

Why Herschel Walker is vouching for Donald Trump

Herschel Walker on Donald Trump: ‘He’s not a racist.’

Donald Trump support costs Herschel Walker 

UGA standout Herschel Walker’s longtime friendship with Trump

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman is a senior reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's enterprise team, where she covers women in society, LGBTQ issues, the urban-rural...