“I’ll Pay You To Salute Me”: Government Takes Hard Line On NFL
For those unaware, the National Football League operates as a type of legal monopoly thanks to a political situation so cozy it makes the cable companies and Big Pharma look like rogue enemies of the state.
The NFL pays no taxes. Billionaires own all but one of these teams (the Green Bay Packers are owned by shareholders), and unlike with other sports, every NFL team makes a profit. The NFL itself is classified as a 501(c)6, much like your local Chamber of Commerce. Therefore, they don’t have to give the Capitol Hill mafia a cut of their income.
You may expect, given the preferential treatment the NFL receives from Congress and their very close relationship with legislators, that a typical NFL game would include multiple appeals to emotion designed to make citizens love Big Brother.
And you’d be right.
The national anthem is a long, drawn-out, pregame event. There’ll be a flyover by the Blue Angels at the perfect, climactic moment. During a break in the action, some soldier returning from Afghanistan or any other foreign war-zone will be reunited with his family while the stadium erupts in deafening applause and heart wrenching sobs.
Well, hold off on purchasing those tickets just yet, because the Washington Post found something interesting this week. All this patriotic propaganda- the troop-salutes, the banner ads, even the community service events where troops and NFL teams “build or re-build” a playground together, come with a price tag.
Fourteen NFL teams were paid a total of $5.4 million by the Department of Defense to cover the nationalistic propaganda filling downtime during the games.
No word yet on whether the Patriots were one of the fourteen teams.
The Post reports:
U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) called the spending wasteful and disingenuous, Baxter and Salant report:
“Those of us go to sporting events and see them honoring the heroes,” Flake said in an interview. “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.” …
“They realize the public believes they’re doing it as a public service or a sense of patriotism,” Flake said. “It leaves a bad taste in your mouth.”
According to the Post, this is what the National Guard (who coughed up all but $100,000 of the millions) receives in return for its spending:
A Hometown Heroes Salute segment, online advertising and meeting space for a meeting or events, digital advertising on stadium screens, and advertising and marketing services including a kickoff video message from the Guard. Furthermore, according to the Post,
“…soldiers attended the annual kickoff lunch in New York City to meet and take pictures with the players for promotional use, and the Jets allowed soldiers to participate in a charity event in which coaches and players build or rebuild a playground or park. The Jets also provided game access passes.”
Just remember, the next time you purchase a ticket to a football game, you may very well be funding the promotion of armed forces invading foreign countries with no regard for collateral murder.
Go Jets. Literally.