Everyone loves a good military tribute at a sporting event.
Whether it’s a family being reunited or just armed servicemembers holding the American flag during the national anthem, it’s always heartwarming to see our military honored at these events.
But a recent federal investigation has found the Pentagon is paying millions of dollars to sports leagues for these patriotic moments, and Atlanta is at the top of the list for taking the most money.
The Hawks, Falcons and Braves have all accepted more money than any other franchise in their respective leagues for this “paid patriotism,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The Falcons accepted more money from the Department of Defense than any other franchise in pro sports, taking $879,000 from the Georgia Army National Guard for multiple promotions, Huffington Post found in the report.
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From 2012 to 2015, the DOD spent $53 million in taxpayer money for these causes across all sports leagues, the report found.
“Americans deserve the ability to assume that tributes for our men and women in military uniform are genuine displays of national pride, which many are, rather than taxpayer-funded DOD marketing gimmicks,” Sen. John McCain and Sen. Jeff Flake, who co-authored the report, said in their findings.
After the report was released, McCain said during a press conference that he hopes the franchises who accepted the Pentagon’s money will give those funds to organizations that help soldiers.
They’re now working to close loopholes that allow DOD money to be spent in areas like this.
“What is upsetting is that when you see activities like this, that people assume when they go to games are paid for out of the goodness of their heart by the owners and the teams, then to find out the taxpayers paid for it, it kind of cheapens the whole lot,” Flake said. “And that’s simply not right.”
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