By Susan Steffen-Kraft
I know that I, along with others, thought that it was done by the sports teams because they truly felt blessed by what our military did for their country. Now, I confess, I don't believe in these foreign wars, however, I do believe in our lads and lassies that join up, despite the fact in my opinion they are being used for the wrong reasons many times.
“To find out taxpayers are paying for it, it cheapens the whole lot,” Senator Flake has stated. “Also, for the Pentagon, they say there’s no fat to cut anywhere. When you look into these marketing contracts and find activities like this that are being paid for, it makes you question that as well.” He is correct, as it cheapens the events totally. Rodger Goodell has stated that he will return the money for any inappropriate payments which leaves enough wriggle room to slide with the owners of all the teams, So it makes it impossible to know just how much he will return.
"The old saying is God, family and country, and good luck getting the first two to pay for anything". John F. Kennedy famously said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country!" I don't think he meant our tax dollars going for this without even consulting the taxpayers. But then again, when do they ever ask us anything?
A lot of teams are part of this mess. My team, the Seattle Seahawks, are not on the list, thankfully! Apparently the New Jersey National Guard confirmed Tuesday that the language in its contract with the New York Jets indeed includes the "Salute to Service" honor segment. During halftime of each game last season, the New England Patriots invited a soldier on the field to honor the troops. Dressed in camouflage, they smiled and waved to the crowd during the feel-good moment. None of these teams had a gun held to their head and did not beg, plead or extort the military for this to happen; the military approached them.
Flake said Tuesday, in an article written May 12, 2015 by Fox News that "it goes deeper than the NFL.... There are contracts with soccer teams, big contracts in the past with NASCAR, NASCAR sponsorship.” This just warms the cockles of my heart as you can imagine.
"The Atlanta Braves received $450,000, the most of any Major League Baseball franchise, while the Minnesota Wild were paid $570,000, the most of any National Hockey League team". "The Atlanta contracts included a 2013 event during which a roaring crowd cheered as the Falcons welcomed 80 guard members who unfurled an American flag across the Georgia Dome's turf."
In total 10 teams in the MLB, and 8 in the NBA, plus 6 in the NHL took money. The NFL were just the biggest piggies at the trough which does not speak well for their character. This does not mean I do not like football.
Ultimately, the Pentagon never asked the teams publicly to honor their troops for free. If they had do you think the teams would have said no?
"Americans across the country should be deeply disappointed that many of the ceremonies honoring troops at professional sporting events are not actually being conducted out of a sense of patriotism, but for profit in the form of millions in taxpayer dollars going from the Department of Defense to wealthy pro sports franchises," Senator McCain said in a statement. "Fans should have confidence that their hometown heroes are being honored because of their honorable military service, not as a marketing ploy." I so hate agreeing with Senator McCain but sadly, I have to!
This is not the first problem Goodell has had in his tenure as the head of the NFL. We could list them but needless to say I am shocked that he did this. He is not alone in his mistake here however. The military heads should be ashamed of themselves for spending the taxpayers money in this way.
In closing this, it saddens me that the Pentagon and sports teams have sunk to this low.
Should the military take that money or the NFL and other sports teams and donate that money to helping our veterans who are homeless or needing the help I could be for this. Obviously, if we send our military off to war then when they come home they should be taken care of. Since they have not done that then I feel that once again our taxpayers are made to look like fools!