Donald Trump says that he may ask friends Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger to speak on his behalf at the Republican National Convention.
No word on whether Brady would be up for it, but the Steelers quarterback is out. Less than 24 hours after Trump's remarks, Roethlisberger told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette that while he's an acquaintance of Trump, he plans to stay out of politics and won't attend the convention.
More from Bouchette:
The Steelers quarterback said he has golfed with Trump, who has called him a number of times through the years to congratulate him for playing well. However, Roethlisberger said he will not endorse nor speak on behalf of the candidate, because he said politics are not his thing.
Roethlisberger's decision comes two months after Trump, during an April rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, referred to the Steelers quarterback as a friend, adding: "But Big Ben is great, and he's a winner. He's a winner."
In addition to Roethlisberger, the wish list of convention speakers, according to Trump, would include Brady, UFC president Dana White, NASCAR owner Brian France and former Indiana University coach Bob Knight.
"We're going to do it a little different [at the convention], if it's OK," Trump said during a speech Friday in Richmond, Virginia. "I'm thinking about getting some of the great sports people who like me a lot."
Trump considers these sports figures "winners," as opposed to the usual convention fare -- "these people, these politicians who are going to get up and speak and speak and speak."
Roethlisberger's decision to pass on Trump's offer isn't a surprise. As we wrote on Saturday, the only things more divisive than sports fandom are topics on religion and politics. Trump is a polarizing figure, and big-time athletes trying to maintain well-crafted images that are boring by design won't want to get in the middle of a contentious presidential election.