May 24, 2022

From sports to politics: former Dallas Cowboy Herschel Walker faces ballot test in Georgia

Former Dallas Cowboys star Herschel Walker finds out how well his talents transfer to full contact politics Tuesday in Georgia’s U.S. Senate primary.

Backed by former President Donald Trump, Walker is seeking the Republican nomination for the Georgia senate in hopes of taking on incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock in November.

The race takes on even greater importance because it’s crucial to GOP efforts to retake the Senate. Warnock is running for a complete term after winning a special election that helped give Democrats their narrow control of the Senate in January 2021. President Joe Biden won the state by less than 1 point in the 2020 elections, and Trump has repeatedly claimed he really won there.

Here’s a quick look at the former NFL player’s story.

Multi-sports star

A former Dallasite, Walker was born and raised in Wrightsville, Georgia. He grew up playing football, basketball, and competing in track and field.

After high school, Walker went on to play football at the University of Georgia, where he won the Heisman Trophy and led the Bulldogs to a national championship. He is still considered as one of the best college football players of all time.

In 1983, ineligible for the NFL because it did not allow underclassmen to play at the time, Walker was signed by the New Jersey Generals in the United States Football League (USFL). Originally owned by oil tycoon J. Walter Duncan, the team sold in 1983 to Trump. Walker played for the Generals until being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1985.

In 1989, Walker was traded to the Minnesota Vikings in a deal that helped the Cowboys so much that it became known by some as “the great train robbery.” He played for the Vikings three seasons before moving on to the Philadelphia Eagles and ultimately back to the Cowboys before retiring from the NFL in 1997.

Beyond football, Walker competed in track and field while at the University of Georgia. He also competed in the 1992 Winter Olympics in Alberta, Canada, on the United States’ bobsleigh team. He even performed with the Fort Worth Ballet for a performance during his time on the Cowboys.

Campaign controversies

Walker’s personal history has been a subject of controversy in the Georgia race. Documents uncovered by The Associated Press in July of last year pertaining to Walker’s business ventures and his divorce from his high school sweetheart, Cindy DeAngelis Grossman, have spurred sharp questions from his foes.

In the divorce papers, Grossman accused Walker of “physically abusive and extremely threatening behavior,” including an instance where Walker reportedly held a pistol to her head. These accusations led to Grossman obtaining a restraining order against Walker in 2005. Walker has denied some accusations, and attributed some of his behavior to dissociative identity disorder, which he was diagnosed with in 2001.

Documents regarding business ventures have raised questions about Walker’s claims of success, including claims that his company, Renaissance Man Food Services, owns a chicken processing division which no one has proof of.

Walker has made numerous claims in media interviews that his company has hundreds of employees and consistently rakes in anywhere from $70 million to $80 million in annual sales. However, according to the company’s application for a federal Paycheck Protection Program loan, it only has eight employees.

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