Right Hooks

Military Paid NFL to Honor the Troops

Dan Gilmore · May 13, 2015

From 2011 to 2014, the Department of Defense paid 14 NFL teams $5.4 million to honor soldiers during games. That’s right: What we thought was a genuine display of patriotism, like Hometown Hero, only came about because the NFL (formerly a “nonprofit” — pfft) wanted more money and the U.S. military wanted advertisement. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who first drew attention to the practice, said, “They realize the public believes they’re doing it as a public service or a sense of patriotism. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth.” While the NFL is contemptible for trading salutes for cash, the U.S. military also shoulders some of the blame for manipulating special moments into theater to gain more recruits. What do the soldiers, some with injuries from war, who walked out onto the field in front of thousands think of the fact that they were used as pawns in a marketing campaign that earned a sports franchise millions?

Meanwhile, Sen. Harry Reid has bigger fish to fry. He took to the Senate floor to complain about the suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for knowing about improperly inflated footballs. “I find it stunning that the National Football League is more concerned about how much air is in a football than with a racist franchise name that denigrates Native Americans across the country.” If Reid were serious about his political charade, he’d just pay the Washington Redskins to change their name. With all this nonsense, maybe it’s time for the nation to return to America’s pastime — baseball. More…

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