Congress is preparing to approve a bill that would ban promotions saluting U.S. troops at taxpayer expense during sporting events, Jonathan Salant of NJ.com reports.
Funding would be cut from promotions like the New York Jets’ “hometown heroes” salute, in which one or two soldiers are featured on the stadium screen during a game and fans are implored to thank the soldiers for their service. The Jets received $377,000 between 2011 and 2014 from the Department of Defense and the Jersey Guard in compensation for this promotion and other advertising, NJ.com reported.
In that four-year span, 14 NFL teams received $5.4 million from the Department of Defense for similar contracts involving promotions, which have been dubbed “pay for patriotism.”
“Those of us go to sporting events and see them honoring the heroes,” U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) told NJ.com in May. “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.”
The legislation, which awaits final approval from both the House and Senate, is paired with a report that calls on the NFL and other sports leagues to consider donating the money they have received from these deals to charity.According to NJ.com, the Indianapolis Colts received the fourth highest amount of NFL teams, collecting $620,000 from 2011 through 2014 for putting on patriotic programs during games.
May 11, 2015 Sports Illustrated article "NFL teams gross millions in tax dollars for military salutes during games"