U.S. Military Paid NFL Teams $6.1 Million Of Taxpayer Money For Patriotism Events, Says Report
So the U.S. military and 14 NFL teams have this little scam going, in which the Department of Defense pays the teams to stage military-themed, honor-the-troops events at their stadiums. That's our taxpayer money, in case you're unclear ion the concept.
You remember that heartfelt, patriotic moment you experienced while watching your NFL team's most recent game? It may have been that American flag covering the entire field, or the serviceman belting out our National Anthem. Yeah, that's what's happening.
This happens pretty much across the board in pro sports, but no league's teams profit more from these events than the NFL, according to a recently released Congressional report. Therein it was revealed that NFL teams collected $6.1 million in paid patriotism cash from 2012-2015.
Roger Goodell says that it's all news to him, and has vowed to crack down on teams that he finds have done this. So sit on the edge of your couch for that. Amusingly, one of the top offenders is the team with Patriots right in its name: New England made $700,000 from paid patriotism activity during that four-year period.
Who was No. 1? Let's just show the entire list.
The worst NFL offenders in terms of Defense Dept. $$ for paid "patriotic tributes," per the Congressional report. pic.twitter.com/TXC6uW0myn
— Bart Hubbuch (@BartHubbuch) November 4, 2015
Falcons win! Falcons win! Sadly, Bob cannot celebrate with you -- before the game he was smothered by an enormous American flag.
So by attending an NFL game featuring one of these honor-the-military days, you're in essence giving Paul Allen a bunch of your cash, plus maybe increasing the chance that your son will be sent to Syria. Um, go Seahawks?
Fortunately there's a bill headed to Congress (part of the current defense policy bill) that would make all of this illegal. It's being led by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), and would ban any professional sports league or organization that receives taxpayer money from staging pay for patriotism events. Those that do must donate "an equivalent amount of funding" to a charity that supports active-duty troops, veterans and their families. NJ.com:
"Thanking our troops ought to be something more than a marketing gimmick, so I'm glad that Congress has agreed to put an end to these taxpayer-funded salutes," said Sen. Flake, who first called attention to the practice by citing the Jets.
Phony patriotism is the worst kind of con game, and it's been around for almost 100 years in sports. Remember, the Star-Spangled Banner wasn't even played regularly at MLB games until the 1918 World Series, when Chicago Cubs management decided it needed something to ratchet up ticket sales during the gloom of World War I. After the war they discontinued it, with MLB only reviving it again during World War II, for the same reason. Then it stuck.
Now it's everywhere, even at high school events. I'm sorry, but I don't need Mark Cuban or Jed York or some out-of-tune high school band telling me when to be patriotic. And I don't want to listen to an army corporal sing the Anthem knowing that Jerry Jones is pocketing the cash.
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