If you've been to sporting events, it's likely that you've seen a team honor military members. It's always a heartfelt moment and it's cool that the team is opting to honor the military. According to a recent report from NJ.com, however, NFL teams are getting paid to do that.
According to the report, 14 teams received federal tax dollars to honor the military, including the Indianapolis Colts. Since 2011, the Colts have reportedly received $620,000 from the military in exchange for the ceremonies that we see at stadiums, and the Department of Defense has paid $5.4 million to these 14 franchises over the last few years.
The military does certainly need to recruit, and the NFL is one of the most notable ways to do so. By paying the league to honor them, the military is certainly raising awareness to others who might be interested in joining. It's unclear how effective this marketing campaign is, but it does make sense.
SB Nation's Matt Ufford put it best when he described it as "disingenuous." There's just something that doesn't feel right whenn to the Colts, the Falcons, Ravens, Bills, Bengals, Browns, Cowboys, Packers, Chiefs, Dolphins, Vikings, Jets, Steelers and Rams have also received money for the ceremonies that includes a variety of tributes.
I understand that the Department of Defense does have a budget for recruiting, but it just feels weird to find out that these tributes are actually nothing more than on-field advertisements that are payed for by taxpayers. It's not a great look for the Colts or for the NFL that their honoring of military members that appeared to be genuine ceremonies are nothing more than advertisements - advertisements that have brought in $620,000 of taxpayer money since 2011, all while fans stood and cheered, thinking it was a great gesture from the franchise.
For more on this issue, read Matt Ufford's terrific take on it here.