Dear Woody Johnson, NY Jets Owner: Gang Green is Greening Yet You Raise Money for Climate Change Denier Donald Trump?


In last month’s It Isn’t Easy Being (Gang) Green, Especially When Jets Owner, Star Player Support Climate Change Denier Donald TrumpI laid bare my soul by sharing the moral conundrum I’m sure most of my fellow Jets fans are grappling with these days: How can I/we support this team when its owner, Woody Johnson, along with perennial All Pro center and fan favorite Nick Mangold, are supporting Donald J. Trump, presumptive Republican nominee for President of the United States and arch climate change denier. After deciding divorcing the Jets was not an option#, I resolved to write Woody and Mangold to see if I could change one or both of their minds—and perhaps their votes. Here is the letter I will send to Johnson.

Dear Mr. Johnson:

A Jets fan for 50 years (that’s a painful phrase to write on so many levels) and a season ticket holder for 28 of those seasons, I write you today with a mixture of dread and hope.

No, I am not talking about the upcoming season.

Rather, I am referring to your decision to fund raise for Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president.

You see, I work in the world of the climate change fight as a sales, business development and communications consultant. I help companies and non-profits tell their sustainability stories more powerfully, raise funds (see, we have that in common!) for green/climate change-focused non-profits and sell sponsorships to green-themed events. And, for the past three years, I’ve been writing GreenSportsBlog, the source of news and commentary at the intersection of Green + Sports.

I have spoken with several prominent climate scientists over the years and know that they and roughly 97 percent of their colleagues agree: Climate change is real, is mainly caused by the burning of fossil fuels by humans and, left unchecked, will lead to severe and mostly harmful changes to human and other life throughout the rest of this century and beyond.

The US Department of Defense (DOD) recognizes the broad global security risks of climate change: A July 2015 DOD report offered that “Global climate change will aggravate problems such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership and weak political institutions that threaten stability in a number of countries.”

Yet I am an optimist regarding climate change solutions. Because I believe humanity is at its best when it faces up to big problems, I have no doubt humanity is capable of doing the things necessary (i.e. shift quickly and at scale to a low carbon economy) to avert climate change’s most serious effects—but only IF it acknowledges the problem, and demonstrates the will and the decisiveness to attack it. And, to the winners (i.e. the countries that take the lead in the low carbon economy), go the spoils that will include significant and sustainable economic growth.

This should be music to the ears of an American businessman like yourself–what a great way to build upon America’s greatness than by being the country that leads the low carbon economy revolution!

And yet, you support and raise money for Donald J. Trump, a man who has called climate change “a hoax”, and believes it “was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” He promises to “cancel” the global climate change agreement that was arrived at in Paris in December and signed earlier this year by 174 countries, including the United States.

Trump Woody

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson talking with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump. (Photo credit, Corey Sipkin/NY Daily News)


Your support for Trump and thus his climate change denial is curious to me. Oh, I know you’ve been a top level fundraiser for GOP presidential campaigns for several cycles, so why not Trump, right? But Trump’s climate change denial is stunning. That’s where the dread comes in for me.

But, it seems to me that you get that climate change is, you know, not a hoax perpetrated by folks in Beijing.

Why do I think this? I look no further than the NFL team you own and that I live and die for, the New York Jets. MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands, home to both the Jets and Giants, sports solar panels on the roof as well as other sustainability/green features. And last year, your/my team entered into a sponsorship deal with BASF (“we create chemistry for a sustainable future”), the highlight of which was the Team Chemistry program in which fans could tailgate with BASF and discover “innovative solutions for a more sustainable future in energy and material efficiency and water conservation.” Johnson & Johnson, the company your forebears started, is one of 110+ corporations that joined together after the December 2015 Paris COP21 climate talks to “welcome the Paris Agreement and leverage this historic economic opportunity to tackle climate change through a just transition to a clean energy economy.”

So if you don’t think climate change is a hoax, you must think it’s not that serious of a problem. Nor do you see the benefits, financial-wise, health-wise and otherwise, that will result from taking on the problem.

And that’s where the hope comes in.

I hope, because you likely acknowledge the reality of the climate change problem, you are open-minded about its seriousness.

I hope, if you are open-minded about the seriousness of climate change, you would also be open to a meeting& at which I would present a revenue neutral, market-based carbon pricing proposal (“Carbon Fee & Dividend”), advanced by Citizens’ Climate Lobby¥, that has garnered some Republican support. A 2014 study from REMI^ shows that, if enacted, this carbon pricing program would jump start the clean energy economy in the United States while leading to greater overall economic growth than would be the case if nothing is done.

I hope, after having seen the presentation, you will be open to convincing Donald Trump about climate change’s reality and severity as well as of the benefits of taking it on.

I hope that, if Mr. Trump refuses to give you a hearing and/or does not change his position, you will reverse your decision to raise funds for Donald Trump.

I hope, with the time saved from not having to dial for dollars for Trump, you will instead school yourself and your fellow NFL owners on climate change. I will help you out with that.

And, finally, I hope the Jets get their dang quarterback situation worked out soon!

Thank you,

Lew Blaustein

# Jets-o-philia is too hard-wired into my internal hard drive.
& We can meet at the Jets offices in New York City or out at the team’s Atlantic Health training center in Florham Park.
¥ Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change. It engages members of Congress and other stakeholders with the goal of passing  Carbon Fee & Dividend legislation.
^ REMI = Regional Economic Models, Inc.
Please comment below!
Email us: lew@greensportsblog.com
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  1. It’s time to put the “climate change is a hoax” nonsense to bed for good! The more people in power—in government, business, sports & the media—who continue to hold that insane position, the longer it will take for the world to choose positive action over crazy denial of science. How do we change their minds?

  2. Thanks for the comment, Candy! This is a tricky question. To me, the issue isn’t science; if people take even a cursory look at the scientific record, they wouldn’t be in the denial or skeptic camps. Rather I think it has to with the politics of the potential remedies (i.e. government action). If folks don’t like the solutions, they may be more apt to cast doubt on the mere existence of the problem. I’m not sure how you beat that but that you have to continue the fight.

  3. […] change-fighting, bleeding green and white New York Jets fan do when he finds out team owner Woody Johnson is a fundraiser for climate change denier Donald Trump? Become a (gag!) Giants or Patriots fan? NO WAY! I couldn’t switch tribes—I just could not […]

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