Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AR) and NJ.com revealed that the U.S. Department of Defense had been paying millions of dollars to the National Football League for their ceremonious salutes to the veterans. Many thought it was the NFL being gracious, but the DoD paid the league $6 million over the last four seasons for those “Salute to Service” ceremonies.
The National Defense Authorization Act contains language that would ban any such deals in the future, and it now requires a full accounting of the DoD’s deals and contracts with “sports leagues and teams.”
“At a time of crippling budget cuts under sequestration, the Defense Department can’t afford to waste its limited resources for the benefit of sports leagues that rake in billions of dollars a year,” John McCain said on the Senate floor.
“When some teams are accepting money to do what has been termed ‘paid-for-patriotism,’ then it cheapens all the other good work that is done by these sports teams and others,” said Flake, who has asked the Pentagon for a full accounting of the money it has spent on such promotions and what benefits accrued from them.
President Obama, however, is threatening to veto the authorization bill, but that veto is unrelated to DoD-purchased ad time during sporting events. Deadspin noted that the DoD has contracts with Major League Baseball, the NBA, NHL, MLS, NASCAR, and the NCAA.
For more on this story, visit Deadspin “Congress Seeks to Ban Military-Sponsored NFL Salutes.”