A little while ago, I asked if the CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods was going to get sued for tortious interference.

The CEO chose to destroy $5 Million in useable inventory, rather than sell it or return it.  He made a big deal in the media about it, and that he was having the company back out AR-15 sales for political reasons, and knowingly took a quarter-of-a-billion dollar hit to the company.

At the time, I (we) all thought this was merely virtue signaling and woke capitalism.  The Dick’s CEO didn’t have anything to gain in any tangible or material way by scuttling his company’s value.

But he did, and Politico has made that information public.

Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO quietly tests presidential bid

Ed Stack, the CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods and a longtime Republican donor, is testing the waters for a possible third-party presidential bid that could scramble the dynamics of the 2020 general election.

Various messages were presented to a focus group in southern Wisconsin this week centering on the billionaire businessman, along with possible three-way match-ups against Donald Trump and Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren.

The focus group, according to a source who took part in the testing, ran through varying themes involving Stack and heavily focused on his example of “showing leadership” by halting the sale of assault-style rifles at all of Dick’s Sporting Goods stores in the wake of the high school massacre in Parkland, Fla.

So his ending AR-15 sales and destroying millions in inventory was quite possibly a stunt that he could hang his hat on in a third-party presidential run.

Stack has taken on a higher media profile in recent weeks, coinciding with the release of a new book, titled “It’s How We Play the Game.” This week, Stack took aim at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for failing to make headway on gun reform.

“I wish he’d have the guts to bring it to a vote,” Stack said.

Joe Hunter, an adviser to Gary Johnson’s Libertarian Party presidential bids in 2012 and 2016 said he has heard Stack’s “name come up” in discussions about a possible run for president.

It might have also been a stunt to drive book sales – which is in-and-of-itself become a near mandatory prelude to running for president.  (Also, am I really supposed to believe that these luke-warm between the ears politicians have the time and brainpower to write 500 page auto-hagiographies?)

At a recent event to promote his new book, Stack referenced a meeting with Parkland parents.

“One of the things I asked the parents from Parkland as we were leaving was, ‘What is it that you would like me to do?’ They said, ‘We would like you to keep the conversation going,’” he said in Binghamton, N.Y., where he grew up. “That was a big watershed moment and we need to keep this conversation going. Which is one of the reasons I wrote the book. It talks about all the things you did to build the business to be in a position to be able to make these kinds of differences. One of the reasons to write the book was the commitment to those families to keep it going.”

If Al Gore and Hillary Clinton proved anything, it is that running and losing a presidential election can be very lucrative.  So much so that other losers like Hillary Clinton, Beto O’Rourke, and Stacey Abrams have made careers capitalizing on their loses.

Railing against Trump has become a cottage industry for many a (un)principled quasi-conservative.

So the CEO of Dick’s stands to gain substantially in terms of money and notoriety for even a failed run the Presidency.  Book deals, speaking fees, etc. could amount to tens of millions of dollars, plus the fame that comes with it.

If the Politico story is true, the destruction of a quarter-of-a-billion dollars in company value was just a way of getting noticed for an eventual political grandstanding opportunity that would generate much more fame and fortune than quietly running a sporting goods company.

I wonder if Dick’s shareholders are happy about that?

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By J. Kb

One thought on “Politico makes the case for tortious interference against Dick’s CEO”
  1. So it’s Ed Stack and not Tulsi Gabbard who is the Russian agent that’s going to steal votes from the Democrats and re-elect Trump? Who’da thunk?

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