Two days ago, I wrote about how no one seems to want to speak at the Republican National Convention. It might actually be hard for Trump to fill all the speaking slots with politicians that anyone knows or has even a modicum of respect for, so I wasn’t too surprised to see Bloomberg report soon after that The Donald is hoping to invite some celebrities onto the stage. Legendary “ultra-ultra conservative” football player and coach Mike Ditka was mentioned as one possibility, along with convicted rapist Mike Tyson and player-choking chair-throwing basketball coach legend Bobby Knight.

Now, Tyson, through his publicist, says that “he’ll be nowhere near Cleveland” when the convention rolls around, but Ditka (though surprised to hear his name mentioned) says he’d be willing to do Trump a solid. There’s a slight problem, though:

Ditka said he first learned of the suggestion that he might appear at the July 18-21 convention in Cleveland in text messages from pals who’d read the Bloomberg story, which cited sources familiar with the Trump campaign’s plans. The story said other retired athletes, including boxer Mike Tyson, would also appear alongside Trump.

Still, Ditka said that “If (Trump) asks me, I’d be happy to do it. I’ve said before that I like him.” He added, “I’m not the type of guy to give a big speech. My speeches are short and to the point.”

I don’t see how Ditka’s short and to the point speech is going to fill enough time to keep people from noticing that pretty much no one recognizably Republican in a famous kind of way is going on stage to vouch for the nominee.

Maybe Bobby Knight can help with outreach to undecided voters.

But I remain skeptical, since that’s not the kind of outreach most people have in mind.

[UPDATE] Ditka turns Trump down, too.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at