Opinion | Herschel Walker was a Georgia football hero. Then he ran for Senate.


Herschel Walker could possibly be basking in his former glory, his many offenses in opposition to ladies, youngsters, honesty and the English language neatly masked by the invisibility cloak of superstar. He’s, in spite of everything, a strolling personification of College of Georgia soccer, and Georgia is flying excessive: undefeated and ranked No. 1. Each nice season stirs recollections of previous triumphs, and Walker is — or was, anyway — triumph personified.

In three seasons earlier than turning professional after his junior yr, the highly effective working again scored 52 touchdowns, rushed for greater than 5,000 yards and gained 33 video games in opposition to simply three losses. He won the 1982 Heisman Trophy by a mile over a Stanford College quarterback named John Elway. Walker was the marquee participant of the short-lived U.S. Soccer League, then entered the Nationwide Soccer League, the place he racked up 61 touchdowns.

Maybe, to borrow a phrase, he acquired uninterested in successful, as a result of at present he’s identified for his humiliating marketing campaign for U.S. Senate from Georgia. The debacle — which featured allegations of his deserted youngsters, terrorized mates, brandished firearms, fictionalized achievements and secret funding of girlfriends’ abortions — ended on Tuesday with Walker’s opponent, Sen. Raphael G. Warnock (D), reelected in a runoff.

Georgia GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker on Dec. 6 stated his marketing campaign was the “smartest thing” he had performed after dropping to Sen. Raphael G. Warnock (D-Ga.). (Video: The Washington Publish)

It’s one factor for a deeply flawed particular person to just accept admiration for his former athletic magnificence, but it surely’s fairly one other for him to hunt a job in main the nation. The soiled laundry that Walker saved stuffed into the vault behind his trophy case was hauled into the glare of tv lights and packaged into tens of millions of {dollars} of adverse promoting. One in all Walker’s sons summed up his well-known father this way: He “left us to bang a bunch of girls, threatened to kill us, and had us transfer over 6 instances in 6 months” to flee the mayhem of his personal making.

The Post’s View: Georgia is turning purple — and should be a 2024 early primary state

No tackler may journey him up however, on the marketing campaign path, Walker struggled to interrupt freed from the grip of straightforward sentences. Within the final days of the race, Warnock purchased TV time to play Walker’s most baffling statements again and again. It’s a dangerous register politics when your opponent begins paying to broadcast your phrases.

Georgia’s Republican lieutenant governor was pithy in assessing Walker’s political profession: “one of many worst candidates in our occasion’s historical past.”

What compels an individual to bathe in gasoline and light-weight up a cigar? In Walker’s case, it’s a acquainted story. He got here into the orbit of that serial destroyer of different individuals’s reputations, Donald Trump.

The 2 males bonded after Trump acquired the New Jersey Generals of the USFL in 1983. Walker was the Generals’ celebrity; luring him away from faculty the earlier yr had been a coup for the upstart league. Trump believed that Walker’s on-field prowess may assist him pressure a merger with the established NFL.

As a substitute, like a lot of Trump’s enterprises, the league went bust. The mogul and his athletic marvel break up on pleasant phrases after the 1985 season, the USFL’s final, throughout which Walker gained an incredible 2,411 yards. Regardless of going their separate methods — Walker to the NFL, Trump to the cash pit of Atlantic Metropolis — they remained pleasant. And everyone knows what turns into of Trump’s buddies.

Take into account Michael Cohen, the longtime private lawyer who ended up in jail. Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Group monetary officer who pleaded responsible to tax fraud. Former Man of the 12 months Rudy Giuliani, who stood with hair dye running down his cheeks as he unfold the stolen-election nonsense that cost him his license to practice law in New York.

By encouraging Walker to run for the Senate and endorsing him within the Republican main, Trump reminded the world of his contempt for American authorities and American beliefs. One sizzling mess is pretty much as good as the following in terms of burning down the GOP and changing it with a cult of Trump. As normal, voters disagreed and rejected Walker — simply as they rejected Trump’s unready candidates in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Arizona in November.

A real pal would have advised Walker: Maintain your head down and keep out of politics. Folks love you as a soccer icon, however working for workplace is an entire new ballgame. It doesn’t matter how briskly you’re; you possibly can’t outrun opposition analysis. You don’t have any blockers to guard you from your self.

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