The National Guard Is Paying NFL Teams Millions Of Dollars To Honor Troops And Vets On The JumboTron

by 4 years ago

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 9:  Soldiers on the field during pre game to celebrate Veteran's Day before a game between the New Orleans Saints and the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 9, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Getty Image/Wesley Hitt

We all love football. But it’s pretty much a matter of fact that the NFL and its team owners are shameless, greedy scumbags who lack basic humility and human decentness. But this one is a real SMH, as if you needed another reason to hate the NFL as an organization…

You know those Hometown Heroes segments at NFL games where an active service member or veteran gets honored on a stadium’s JumboTron? Well, in some cases, it’s all smoke and mirrors. It’s not *actually* a genuine patriotic gesture by the team. It’s an advertising activation that the teams are making money off of. Big money.

According to an in-depth review of federal contracts published on NJ.com, the New York Jets and 14 other teams were paid millions for these “salutes” to our troops and veterans:

The Department of Defense and the Jersey Guard paid the Jets a total of $377,000 from 2011 to 2014 for the salutes and other advertising, according to federal contracts. Overall, the Defense Department has paid 14 NFL teams $5.4 million during that time, of which $5.3 million was paid by the National Guard to 11 teams under similar contracts.

The National Guard and military in general spends a lot of advertising money. But the idea teams are getting paid taxpayer money to salute service members is pretty gross. And one U.S. Senator is pissed. Via NJ.com:

U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who routinely posts examples of what he calls wasteful spending, called out the Jets’ agreement as wasteful and disingenuous.

“Those of us go to sporting events and see them honoring the heroes,” Flake said in an interview. “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.”

The agreement includes the Hometown Hero segment, in which the Jets feature a soldier or two on the big screen, announce their names and ask the crowd to thank them for their service. The soldiers and three friends also get seats in the Coaches Club for the game.

“They realize the public believes they’re doing it as a public service or a sense of patriotism,” Flake said. “It leaves a bad taste in your mouth.”

Here are some of the other teams doing it:

Records show the Jets were not alone in contracting with the military. Other teams, such as the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens, have also received money under similar agreements. No money has gone to the Giants or Eagles, records show.

Other teams getting their elbows greased to salute the troops include the Dallas Cowboys (‘MURICAs! team), the Falcons, and the Steelers.

Read the full breakdown of all teams at NJ.com.

NJ.com notes that Jets and other teams do have other ways of contributing to the military, including a generous $1 million contribution to an organization called Building for America’s Bravest.

Look, I’m all for capitalism, but let’s hope this stops IMMEDIATELY because it’s absolutely disgraceful. No one needs to get paid to honor someone’s service.

Have some humility, NFL.


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