Football fans, beware: When your team brings a soldier out to midfield to honor during a break in the action of an NFL game, it might not be doing so out of a sense of patriotism alone.
The Department of Defense paid 14 NFL teams $5.4 million in taxpayer dollars between 2011 and 2014 for salutes to the military and other advertising, NJ.com reports, citing federal contracts. The New York Jets alone received $377,000 from the New Jersey Army National Guard in that span, according to the report, although $5.3 million was paid by the National Guard to 11 teams under similar contracts.
“Those of us go to sporting events and see them honoring the heroes,” U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona told NJ.com. “You get a good feeling in your heart. Then to find out they’re doing it because they’re compensated for it, leaves you underwhelmed. It seems a little unseemly.”
Teams that have received government money include the Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts, according to NJ.com; the New England Patriots did not receive money from the defense department.
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