Best Defense

If you weren’t pissed off at the NFL by now, you will be when you read this

You know all those “salute to the troops” stuff thrown up on football scoreboards? It turns out that the NFL charges for at least some of them. And we’re the chumps footing the bill.

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You know all those “salute to the troops” stuff thrown up on football scoreboards? It turns out that the NFL charges for at least some of them. And we’re the chumps footing the bill.

No, this is not from the Duffel Blog or Onion. Christopher Baxter of NJ.com reports that the Pentagon, which is begging Congress for big bucks, actually paid NFL teams $5.4 million of your hard-earned money.

For example, the Jets were paid nearly $400,000 for several promotions, including, according to the contract, “A videoboard feature – Hometown Hero. For each of their 8 home game [sic], the Jets will recognize 1-2 NJARNG Soldiers as Home Town Heroes. Their picture will be displayed on the videoboard, their name will be announced over the loud speaker, and they will be allowed to watch the game, along with 3 friends or family members, from the Coaches Club.”

This is one of the crassest manipulations of patriotism I have ever seen. As a friend points out, it makes the novel Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk look prescient but way too gentle.

(HT to JH)

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. @tomricks1

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