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
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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.
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