The broadcast booth, like the press box, is always located in an elevated area of an arena or stadium.
And on Sunday, it allowed FOX’s Joe Buck and Troy Aikman the perfect vantage point to see just how ridiculous the NFL’s continued faux patriotism is, just weeks from Election Day.
There was a pregame military flyover before the Tampa Bay-Green Bay game, as if fighter pilots and football go together like baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie.
Aikman: That’s a lot of jet fuel just to do a little flyover.
Buck: That’s your hard-earned money and your tax dollars at work!
Aikman: That stuff ain’t happening with [a] Kamala-Biden ticket. I’ll tell you that right now, partner.
The comments were caught on a hot mic, and the off-the-cuff remarks point to a lie that the NFL has been trying to push down the throats of Americans for years. Because if the NFL was so patriotic, then they wouldn’t have accepted cash from the Defense Department to disperse to teams for the purpose of waving the stars and stripes around.
Besides 9/11 and the Super Bowl, teams weren’t even mandated to be on the field for the national anthem until 2009. But then, there was an initiative that included at least 14 NFL teams getting paid to put on “elaborate patriotic salutes” between 2011 and 2014.
Check this out from a 2017 article from ThinkProgress.com.
“Overall, the Defense Department spent at least $10.4 million on ‘marketing and advertising contracts with professional sports teams’ across the board between 2012 and 2015, although, the report noted, the department ‘[could not] accurately account’ for the full number of contracts and payouts it had awarded. ‘It only reported 62 percent (76 of 122) of its contracts and 70 percent ($7.3 million) of its spending in its response to our inquiry,” wrote Arizona Senators Jeff Flake(R) and John McCain (R).
And they add this.
“Even with that disclosure, it is hard to understand how a team accepting taxpayer funds to sponsor a military appreciation game, or to recognize wounded warriors or returning troops, can be construed as anything other than paid patriotism.”
And according to CNN, the Department of Defense spent $6.8 million on “paid patriotism” between 2012 and 2015 amongst 50 teams from the NBA, NFL, MLB, MLS, and NASCAR.
In 2016 – the year of Colin Kaepernick and Trump – it was reported that the NFL would pay back taxpayers more than $720,000 for the “paid patriotism” that the teams took from the military. At the time, Roger Goodell admitted that an audit discovered that $723,734 “may have been mistakenly applied to appreciation activities rather than recruitment efforts” in a four-season span.
“This amount will be promptly returned in full to the taxpayers,” Goodell told McCain and Flake.
“These recruitment efforts are intended to be separate and apart from the NFL’s long standing support of the service members and families who have dedicated their lives to serving this great country.”
Before his passing, McCain called out the other leagues that took money from the government, suggesting that they cut a refund check, too.
“I applaud the NFL’s audit in response to our oversight investigation into ‘paid patriotism.’ Returning the $723,000 is the right thing to do. But the NFL is only one of several sports leagues we identified that accepted money from the Pentagon in return for honoring our troops. The other organizations – Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, National Basketball Association and Major League Soccer – should also conduct an audit and return the money or donate it to service members, veterans and their families. We’ll be working to once again include language in the defense authorization bill that would fully ensure the Defense Department never again spends American tax dollars to honor our troops.”
Over the last few years, there has been an ongoing conversation about the need for the national anthem to be played before athletic contests. And situations like this are why the age old tradition needs to be put to rest.
So, the next time you go to a game – if we’re ever allowed to go back outside – and see some sort of military presence or demonstration, know that it was only possible because somebody took it out of your check.