This story was broken on Friday by nj.com. Hopefully It can survive the weekend to receive the scrutiny and derision is deserves.
Those salutes to American servicemen and women we all watch on the Jumbotron during halftime of NFL games? Turns out they are paid promotions costing taxpayers millions of dollars.
This does not mean, of course, that all halftime events featuring troops or veterans are paid promotions. However, the fact that many are could undermine such efforts and “leaves a bad taste in your mouth” one lawmaker said.
“Those of us go to sporting events and see them honoring the heroes,” said Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake in an interview with nj.com. “You get a good feeling in your heart. Then to find out they’re doing it because they’re compensated for it, it leaves you underwhelmed. It seems a little unseemly.”
It’s hardly a secret that the NFL is one of the leading recruitment vehicles for the U.S. military. The problem, Flake implies, is that these events are portrayed as genuine moments of gratitude expressed to America’s servicemen, not advertisements.
Yes, this is the same United States Department of Defense that sent some troops to Iraq with insufficient body armor. Post 9/11 veterans continue to have a higher than average unemployment rate, and continue to commit suicide in shocking numbers.
It is a fact that the military needs to recruit, and public funds will always be used for this purpose. Even so, paying tax dollars to the problematic NFL to create on-field events that are, in reality, recruiting appeals in disguise is a disgusting practice. The idea that a penny went into the pocket of a billionaire NFL team owner that could have helped a veteran in need is downright nauseating.