Herschel Walker, the former star running back who spoke during the Republican National Convention Monday night, said he made the appearance in support of President Trump at his own request.
“In society today, if you’ve got a Black friend, oh, jeez you’re like king,’’ said Walker, who played for New Jersey Generals of the now-defunct USFL from 1984 to '85 when Trump owned the team. “But not one time has (Trump) asked me to speak for him. I don’t even think he knew I was going to speak this time. I’m the one that asked.’’
Delivering the speech from his home near Dallas, Walker defended Trump against accusations of racism. On Tuesday, he said he has paid a price for a friendship with Trump.
Herschel Walker speaks from his home in Texas during the first night of the Republican National Convention. (Photo: AP)
“Losing friends has been a big cost,’’ said Walker, 58, who in 2018 was appointed by Trump to the President's Council on Sport, Fitness, and Nutrition. “I lost some friends, and that’s what’s so strange about it. How could in a country like America you disagree with someone that you now want to injure that person or you just don’t want to talk to them no more? Where did it get that you become a country like that?’’
But Walker clearly isn’t shying away from expressing his opinions. During an interview with USA TODAY Sports, he steered the conversation toward a variety of political topics and offered falsehoods and dubious claims about the Democratic Party and the Black Live Matter movement.
“I love the Lord Jesus Christ and when I start seeing the Democratic Party, and I want to say ‘the other party,’ when I start seeing them not want to talk about God and removing God, and then I saw the BLM burning a cross and also burning the Holy Bible and burning a flag, and that’s not something I want to be a part of. I’m not that," Walker said.
There has been no evidence that Black Lives Matter supporters burned a cross, and Walker's reference to burning a Bible appears to stem from an incident in Portland, Oregon that has been exaggerated on social media.
A sampling of Walker's other opinions:
► On reparations for Black American descendants of slavery: “Like right now they’re talking about reparations. And I said, ‘If you want to talk about reparations, why don’t you go to the oldest person in America who may have been a slave in those days?’ And let’s see what he thinks about the subject. Not a 25-year-old, or 30-year-old, or 40-year-old or 50-year-old person and ask them about it. You need to ask someone who was back in those days. What does he think about it? You can’t say, ‘Hey, let’s do this,’ if you don’t even know.
“Because has anyone else thought about paying for those white soldiers that died in the Civil War that fought to free the slaves? Should they be paid something?’’
► On the political culture in America: "It’s a political civil war going on right now. It really is a political civil war and I think it’s not right. I honestly don’t think it’s right, so I’m going to speak the truth.’’
► On criticism he gets for his views and claims: "You have people get upset, they call you names. That’s fine. I’m not going to say a word about it because I know who Herschel Walker is. I was bullied when I was a little boy, I was bullied back then.
“Today I’m a grown man. So people have their opinion and that’s what’s so wild. I’m willing to listen. I’d like to know every point of view because that would bring understanding to me. And I just tell them about my point of view and that’s when you try to come to an understanding."
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