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We all know about the NFL's pre-game salutes to our troops and veterans, but what you probably DIDN'T know was that they were being paid to do it with tax-payer money!
Recently, The Hill uncovered the heinous truth that 14 NFL teams have been accepting money from the Defense Department and the National Guard to put on displays of patriotism, events like their Hometown Heroes segments and jet flyovers. The Atlanta Falcons received the biggest allocation of funds, accepting over a million dollars in the past four years!
At no point have the NFL teams involved in these deals explicated that their troop tributes were sponsored. They've been taking credit for supporting the troops altruistically when it's really the troops that have been supporting them!
The icy sting is felt most when one learns that the money the NFL has been taking to honor the troops something they should be doing for free as proud Americans has been taxpayer money from the Defense Department and the National Guard!
Take action against the NFL by telling Commissioner Roger Goodell an apology needs to be made to their fans and to all Americans! The NFL should take the equivalent to funds that they've accepted and donate them to the VA to help soldiers and veterans.
Patriotism comes from pride, not from the bank!
Dear NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell,
I find it absolutely unacceptable that you have allowed NFL franchises to pull the wool over our eyes in regards to the NFL's patriotism and have remained silent on this issue.
According to a recent report by NJ.com, The New York Jets received $377,000 from the Defense Department between 2011 and 2014. Other news sources (The Hill and The Florida Times Union) reported that your entire organization has received over $5.4 million in funds for in-game events sponsored by the military.
Understanding that the events were paid for by the Defense Department and the National Guard with taxpayer money is frustrating enough, but to find that these teams have not disclosed that the events were sponsored is wrong and deceitful towards their fans. For franchises to portray their patriotism as altruistic, generous, or as anything other than sponsored is a lie that requires an apology to their fans and to the troops.
Overall, the fact that your organization is even accepting money for these types of patriotic spectacles is wrong. The Defense Department should not have to pay you to show your support for America's military service members. You should be honoring the military because you have respect for our soldiers and veterans.
Americans are patriotic to show their gratitude towards the men and women who sacrifice themselves so that we may enjoy our personal freedoms. Americans should not be patriotic because they are paid to do so. As Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona has said, "[the NFL] realize the public believes they're doing it as a public service or a sense of patriotism. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth."
As suggested by The Florida Times Union, I think that you, as the commissioner of the NFL, should require each of the 14 NFL teams that have accepted these funds to withdraw the exact amount of money they've received and donate those funds to the VA and other organizations that support soldiers and veterans. This, in addition to a formal apology, is the only way that the NFL can make amends for disguising their deals with the Pentagon and misleading their fans.