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Honoring the troops is an integral part of every athletic competition in America. For me, it has always been the most heartwarming, meaningful part of any game. As I stood and clapped for a wounded soldier waving at the crowd, his mother tearing up and beaming with pride, I took great solace in believing I lived somewhere that, despite its reliance on capitalism, was willing to honor these brave heroes free of charge. But I was wrong.
As it turns out, the NFL has raked in millions over the past three years capitalizing on our nation’s respect for those who defend it. Often times, when we stand and clap for a wounded soldier on a jumbo screen or for a procession of uniformed men on the field, the Pentagon has dished out a pretty penny to make the tribute happen.
According to Mother Jones, the Department of Defense shelled out over $5.4 million to 14 NFL teams between 2011 and 2014. The biggest winners being the Atlanta Falcons, who made over $1 million, and the Baltimore Ravens, who made $885,000. In return, the spectators were permitted to pay homage to the soldiers. Keep in mind, taxpayers are the ones who fill the DoD budget, which means we are paying money to pay tribute to our men in uniform.
“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.”
I realize that this is a relatively small amount for a Department of Defense with a budget so overwhelmingly high that it doles out $84.2 million in boner pills every year, but I ask you, Roger Goodell, where do we draw the line when it comes to making a quick buck? I say draw it right around honoring the men who give you the freedom to sit on your ass and make money off of their sympathy.
[via Mother Jones]