Thank You For Your Service Soldier, But . . .

But pay up, or we’ll find another sponsor!

A recent Los Angeles Times article has brought to light what may be one of the most hypocritical business practices conducted by professional sports in recent years, ranking higher even than DeflateGate.

According to the LA Times, a Senate oversight committee report released Wednesday outlines how the Pentagon spends millions of dollars per year on sports marketing contracts.  Have you ever attended a professional sporting event where a soldier made a surprise visit to his family, or where a wounded warrior was honored for her service, or where a group of sailors was sworn into service?

Well, what do you know?  Apparently those sports franchises aren’t so patriotic after all.  They’re being paid by the Pentagon and the National Guard of various states to look patriotic.  Yes, the military is paying for public tributes.

The LA Times states:

“In recent years, on-field flag rollouts and other ceremonies saluting military personnel have become commonplace at National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and Major League Soccer games around the country. The majority of the contracts analyzed in the report — 72 of 122 — showed that the Department of Defense paid for the tributes that included national anthem performances, ceremonial first pitches, puck drops, color guard presentations and enlistment ceremonies.”

Apparently the Pentagon has not been fully cooperative with the oversight committee in releasing documents requested by the committee.  Said Senator Jeff Flake (R) of Arizona, “[i]t’s like pulling teeth,” to get the military’s cooperation.

NJ.com reported earlier this year that the National Guard “paid NFL teams $5.6 million in 2013 and 2014. This year, the Guard is spending $4.1 million on advertising through sporting events. That includes $1.2 million in payments to NFL teams. The Super Bowl-champion Patriots got the most at $225,000, with the Indianopolis Colts ($200,000) and Miami Dolphins ($160,000) close behind.”

So, do these professional sport franchises have any patriotism at all or is it all about the money?  Don’t you pay enough to see the million-dollar players on your favorite soccer, baseball, football, basketball or hockey teams battle it out for a pennant, ring or a cup?  Do they really need additional taxpayer funds to honor those whose selfless service allows them to be overpaid to play a game?

Is it appropriate for the Pentagon to spend money, ostensibly as a marketing tool, to make “Big Sports” look like patriots?

No, it is not.  Again – No, it is not.  Once again, and even louder – NO, IT IS NOT!  If New England Patriots are getting paid to honor the true patriots and heroes of this nation, they should change their name.  New England Deflators.  Yeah, that’s the ticket.  They are not patriots, but leeches seeking to suck every last penny they can out of whomever and whatever they can.  If the Indianapolis Colts join in, they could change their name to the Indianapolis Dolts.  The football team in Miami could also join in the name-changing fun and become the Miami Carp.  They should use names that actually describe their business practices!

Shame on professional sports.  Shame on the Pentagon.  Our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coasties deserve better. 

Let’s show our military and our veterans what true honor is this coming Veterans Day.  Find a veteran, or someone on active duty.  Give a hug, a handshake, a kiss, a salute, a thank you.  And, whatever you do, do not ask them to pay you for the honor of being honored.

And then, go call your Senator and Member of Congress and tell them to stop funding such ludicrous and outlandish expenses.

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