Today news broke that the Department of Defense (DoD) paid tax payer money to NHL, MLB, and NFL teams in order to "honor troops." These are the two tweets that were brought to my attention:
McCain: DOD paid $49,000 to Milwaukee Brewers to play "God Bless America"— Luke Russert (@LukeRussert) November 4, 2015
But it wasn't just the Brewers.
McCain: DOD paid NY Jets $20,000 to honor two National Guardsmen on big screen— Luke Russert (@LukeRussert) November 4, 2015
The news conference was just held and more information will likely come out soon. I would not be surprised to see that every one of the 30 MLB clubs participated in this scam. And the more information we find out the stranger it gets.
Flake: Many owners did not know this was going on, it was the marketing people— Luke Russert (@LukeRussert) November 4, 2015
How does an owner not know these things? I don't know. It's weird.
The senate is holding this press conference because the dealings might not have been entirely above board.
Senator Flake: "What we take issue with is the average fan thinking teams are doing this on behalf of the military."— Luke Russert (@LukeRussert) November 4, 2015
I have no idea what the legality of these actions are but they probably broke some law. This was deceitful marketing and arguably propaganda in some cases. At worst the DoD was utilizing indoctrination methodology to garner public support for wartime activities straight out of George Orwell's "1984." I know some people will take issue with that statement but remember that's the "at worst" scenario. At best this was a national sports team passing themselves off as "patriotic" to garner goodwill from the public while taking money to do so.
I don't think anyone is against honoring troops and understanding their sacrifices and celebrating them for their courage. The question is about the intent behind these things and what the true purpose or benefit was. I know some people won't care because "Support the Troops!" But if you don't think anything is wrong about this ask yourself why teams needed money to do these things and why the DoD tried to do it in secret.
No word yet on what these teams did with the money they were paid. But before this is done I'm sure it will all go to some charity. It is entirely possible the money was already spent in that way. We don't know yet but I assume we'll find out soon enough. When there is more information we'll update.
* UPDATE * You can read the full report here. I'm actually surprised to learn only 10 MLB teams participated in this paid perks thing: Braves, Red Sox, Brewers, Mets, Phillies, Rangers, Diamondbacks, Astros, Pirates, and Indians.