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article imageGovernment paid 14 NFL teams $5.4 million to 'salute troops'

By Karen Graham     May 11, 2015 in Politics
Those of us who have served in the military, or are still serving our country are always left with a "feel good" burst of pride when out troops are honored during National Football League games. We all got our bubble busted today.
Christopher Baxter and Jonathan Salant with are reporting that starting in 2011 and going through 2014, the U.S. Department of Defense paid 14 NFL teams a grand total of $5.4 million in taxpayer money to honor active-duty military and veterans at football games.
The investigation by found that most of the "tributes" involved the National Guard. But not all halftime events featuring troops or veterans are paid promotions. The fact that many are could undermine real tributes and this "leaves a bad taste in your mouth" one lawmaker said.
As an example, cites the the U.S. Defense Department and the New Jersey National Guard paid the New York Jets $377,000 from 2011 to 2014, for tributes and other advertising, according to government contracts.
Newser quotes U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.): "Those of us go to sporting events and see them honoring the heroes. You get a good feeling in your heart. Then to find out they're doing it because they're compensated for it, it leaves you underwhelmed. It seems a little unseemly." Flake is appalled, calling it an “egregious and unnecessary waste of taxpayer dollars.”
Flake says everyone is aware of the NFL being a leading recruitment tool for the military, but he is concerned that people will be disillusioned over what they have thought of as being truly real, heartfelt tributes to our veterans and the military. If this were so, why would we have to pay anyone to honor our troops. offered this U.S. Department of Defense breakdown of the contracts and the amount paid to NFL teams.
The Department of Defense offers a breakdown (below) of payments since 2011. Teams that received taxpayer funds include the Baltimore Ravens ($799,000), Cincinnati Bengals ($138,960) Cleveland Browns ($22,500), the Green Bay Packers ($600,000), Pittsburg Steelers, ($36,000) Minnesota Vikings ($605,000), Atlanta Falcons ($1,049,500) Indianapolis Colts ($620,000), Buffalo Bills ($679,000), Dallas Cowboys ($62,500), Miami Dolphins ($20,000), Kansas City Chiefs ($250,000), St. Louis Rams ($60,000), and the afore-mentioned Jets.
More about nfl teams, salute troops, Defense department, paid to honor troops, bad taste in mouth
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