A recent report by Christopher Baxton and Jonathen Salemy of NJ.com revealed that 14 teams in the NFL accepted a total of $5.4 million from the Department of Defense for promotional cornerns.
Instead of standard advertisements and promotional consideration, the promotion came in the form of honoring heroes. For example, at New York Jets’ home games, the DoD payed for a Hometown Hero segment and a solider and his three friends to get seats at the Coaches Club for each game, in addition to other perks.
While most are choosing to look at why the Armed Forces pay for promotion at sports, it’s somehow overlooked that the paid promotion is a fantastic recruting tool. The public thought the NFL legitimately cared about people’s military services (and was doing it out of the goodness of their heart), which therefore encourages people to serve in the military by demonstrating the respect the military (rightfully) garners.
Patrick Doherty, spokesman for the New Jersey National Guard, seemed to come to this point in a statement to Baxton and Salemy:
“Promoting and increasing the public’s understanding and appreciation of military service in the New Jersey Army National Guard increases the propensity for service in our ranks and garners public support for our Hometown Team.”
Since recruiters are tasked with reaching as large of an audiance as possible, an NFL game makes tons of sense. Not only are there multitudes of young males at the game, if it makes the telecast of the game, then millions of young males will have seen it. There’s simply more bang-for-the-buck by promoting with the NFL.
While it (halfway) makes sense for the National Guard and other defense organizations to pay for the promotion, it doesn’t make sense from the NFL’s perspective to accept the money.
Yes, I know $5.4 million is a lot of money, and the billionaires and millionaires who comprise the NFL’s ownership didn’t get their millions and billions from giving items away.
But this is America’s finest, the people who put their lives on the line to allow America’s wealthiest to gain more wealth in a free, capitalist economy. They deserve everything the NFL makes them purchase and more for free.
These veterans are willing to sacrifice their lives for America; the least the billionaires/millionaires who have benefited from their sacrifices can do is throw their Department a bone and help promote them by honoring heroes. But the acceptance of money from the DoD, instead of honoring military heroes for free and out of the goodness of their hearts, shows 14 NFL owners are valuing money more than America and those protecting Her.
In the all-mighty pursuit of the dollar, it seems 14 NFL owners have lost what really matters. And instead of the three ghosts of Christmas visiting them to change their ways, the media is tasked with shaming them into submission.
And the sad thing is, that likely won’t happen. Beat writers and national writers benefit from close relations with team management and would be jeopardizing these carefully-fostered relations by taking their teams to task for accepting money. It’s too risky of a preposition for most writers, leaving the DoD stuck paying for (what the public presumed to be) free honors.
Change should happen, but it likely won’t. And that’s quite unfortunate.
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