From Right Scoop: I really love football but I kinda hate the NFL. Here’s another example of the creeping crony capitalism that has made the NFL a multi-billion dollar industry while digging its hands deep in the pocket of the taxpayer. According to a new report, those “soldier salutes” you see during a game are bought and paid for by the taxpayer through the military.
During timeouts at home games, the New York Jets air a Hometown Heroes segment in which a U.S. soldier or two are shown on the Jumbotron and everyone thanks them for their service. The soldiers and three friends get seats in the Coaches Club. It’s a nice salute.
It’s also funded by U.S. taxpayers.
In news that was first reported Tuesday by Herb Jackson of the Bergen Record and expanded upon by Christopher Baxter and Jonathan D. Salant of New Jersey Advance Media, the Department of Defense paid 14 NFL teams $5.4 million from 2011 to 2014 for salutes like the Hometown Heroes segment and other advertising at professional football games. All but $100,000 of that money came from the National Guard.
U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) called the spending wasteful and disingenuous, Baxter and Salant report:
“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.” …
“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.”
Flake is absolutely right here. I don’t have a problem with the military using the NFL to advertise, but it’s really disingenuous when the NFL makes it appear as if they’re saluting the soldiers when they’re being paid for it. And frankly, they should be offering the military that space for free. Go Bills.