By Ken Reed
During a recent NFL game telecast, announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman didn’t realize their mics were still hot.
What viewers heard were comments that made people recall the NFL’s paid patriotism scam.
Buck and Aikman commented on a military flyover during pregame activities for the Green Bay Packers – Tampa Bay Buccaneers game.
Aikman: That’s a lot of jet fuel just to do a little flyover.
Buck: That’s your hard-earned money and your tax dollars at work!
Aikman: That stuff ain’t happening with [a] Kamala-Biden ticket. I’ll tell you that right now, partner.
The off-the-cuff conversation — whether serious or sarcastic — reminded folks how the NFL has tried to wrap themselves in the flag for a long time.
It’s hypocritical. The real reason the NFL takes any patriotic stance at all is for love of money, not love of country.
From 2011 to 2014, the Department of Defense paid 14 NFL teams $5.4 million for promotional salutes to military personnel. In effect, it was simply a paid patriotism deal. The typical promotion went something like this: During timeouts, the Jumbotron camera would zoom in on a U.S. soldier. The soldier would stand, smile and wave to the crowd. Fans would stand and cheer, bursting with pride and patriotism, and happy that their favorite football team was honoring true American heroes. In reality, the whole thing was contrived; a revenue-at-all-cost marketing scam; just another income stream for NFL owners, not a feel-good gesture at all.
Using taxpayer money to create phony patriotic salutes is wrong on many counts, but mostly it’s just plain sad.
And as Buck’s quote alludes to, it’s certainly an unethical way to spend our tax dollars.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.” We discuss overzealous adults in youth sports, the dangers of sport specialization, youth sports entrepreneurs and the profit-at-all-costs mindset, and the growing socio-economic gap in youth sports.
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Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan.
Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
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.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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