By Ken Reed
Many of you have probably attended a professional sporting event in stadiums and arenas across the country and seen the salutes to members of the military on the giant Jumbotron. It’s an emotional scene.
Unfortunately, in the case of the NFL, the whole thing is a sham.
As an example, during timeouts at New York Jets football games, as part of a “Hometown Heroes” segment, the Jumbotron camera zooms in on a U.S. Soldier or two. The soldiers smile and wave to the crowd and everyone stands and cheers.
The reality is the whole thing is an advertisement paid for by U.S. taxpayers.
From 2011 to 2014, the Department of Defense paid 14 NFL teams $5.4 million for salutes like the Jets’ Hometown Heroes promotion, along with other forms of advertising at NFL games. The vast majority of the marketing was for the National Guard.
U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said that when you go to sporting events and see teams honoring military heroes “you get a good feeling in your heart. Then to find out they’re doing it because they’re compensated for it … it seems a little unseemly.
“They realize the public believes they’re doing it as a public service or a sense of patriotism,” said Flake. “It leaves a bad taste in your mouth.”
Bad taste indeed.
The greedy, profit-at-all-costs opportunists in the NFL, along with the military leaders that signed off on this phony public service scam, should be ashamed of themselves.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
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Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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