Government vs. NFL: Organization May Be Forced to Return Paid Patriotism Funds Again

By Aaron Kesel

Amid the kneeling protest during the national anthem, the NFL may be forced to return taxpayers’ funds. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) on Tuesday called for an end to all federal government support of the NFL.

“I believe we ought to terminate all federal government support of the NFL,” Brooks told Breitbart News.

“That would include the termination of any and all advertising that is done on behalf of the federal government — military and nonmilitary — to the extent we do any.”

“The same thing with any other professional sport that insults our country and our flag and our anthem as the NFL has done,” he added.

The NFL reportedly receives billions of dollars in subsidies from local taxpayers and governments, CNN reported in 2015.

Another 2015 report from revealed that more than a dozen NFL teams received money from the Defense Department between 2011 and 2014 in exchange for promoting the military during games and other forms of advertisement.

From 2011-2014, the Department of Defense spent $5.4 million in contracts with 14 NFL teams for flag ceremonies. Even the U.S. National Guard got in on the action and gave $6.7 million to the NFL from 2013 to 2015.

The protest started last year as a way to highlight the racial inequality in America and fight back against police brutality.

This isn’t the first time the organization would be forced to return funds for “paid patriotism.”

In 2016 the professional football league was forced to agree to return $723,734 that it was paid by the Defense Department to honor the military.  In a letter to the two Arizona senators, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said an audit uncovered that over the course of four seasons $723,734 “may have been mistakenly applied to appreciation activities rather than recruitment efforts.”

McCain and Flake, who released a letter demanding the NFL pay back taxpayers’ funds previously issued a report in November of that year criticizing the NFL and other pro sports organizations for taking taxpayers’ money to put on events at games honoring the troops, a practice they called “paid patriotism.” That report found that the Pentagon had “inappropriately” paid up to $6.8 million to both professional and college sports teams, CBS reported.

The total paid out for patriotic displays at sporting events was a much more outrageous $53 million in spending on marketing and advertising contracts, SB Nation reported.

Flake was pleased with the NFL’s response returning the money which he called “egregious federal spending.”

“In all the years I’ve spent rooting out egregious federal spending, the NFL is the first organization to perform due diligence, take responsibility and return funds to the taxpayers,” Flake said. “The NFL’s response to this investigation sets a new standard and only strengthens its reputation as a supporter of military service members and veterans.”

McCain equally praised the NFL for giving back taxpayers’ funds tweeting that he applauded the effort.

According to the report by McCain and Flake, this practice was supposed to be addressed with the NDAA in 2016.

We successfully had the 2016 NDAA [National Defense Authorization Act] amended to restrict the DoD’s spending on paid patriotism in its professional sports advertising contracts.

So this raises a question about what other federal funding from taxpayers the NFL is receiving besides money from the Pentagon for patriotic displays? Which again, are supposed to be discontinued as mandated by law.

Before 2009 NFL players didn’t even stand for the National Anthem; it was a marketing strategy to push military recruitment.

But then the Department of Defense and the National Guard got involved. They began to pay the NFL millions of dollars to have flag ceremonies before games and have players on the field.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith covered this issue on ESPN’s First Take in 2016, when players first began the recent on-field protest trend:

As part of the new relationship between the DOD and the National Guard, the NFL changed its practices and began bringing players onfield during the playing of the national anthem for some “inspiring” displays of heartfelt patriotism. The outrage over yesterday’s widespread refusal to continue the practice is proof positive that the DOD’s marketing dollars hit their mark. “Patriots” who never noticed the change in 2009 have been suddenly driven into a frenzy over players’ refusal to continue being used as props in the NFL’s high-priced performance of “America.”

Even paid Senate Armed Services committee war porn poster boy leader John McCain has admitted the practice is wrong.

Given the immense sacrifices made by our service members, it seems more appropriate that any organization with a genuine interest in honoring them, and deriving public credit as a result, should do so at its own expense and not at that of the American taxpayer.  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.


In 2015, Senator McCain and the Senate Oversight Committee issued a statement along with a corresponding report condemning the practice of “paid patriotism,” as charades, “conducted not out of a sense of patriotism,” but rather done “for profit in the form of millions in taxpayer dollars going from the Department of Defense to wealthy pro sports franchises.”

The report continued to detail its findings:

Unfortunately, contrary to the public statements made by DOD and the NFL, the majority of the contracts—72 of the 122 contracts we analyzed—clearly show that DOD paid for patriotic tributes at professional football, baseball, basketball, hockey, and soccer games.v These paid tributes included on-field color guard, enlistment and reenlistment ceremonies, performances of the national anthem, full-field flag details, ceremonial first pitches and puck drops. The National Guard paid teams for the “opportunity” to sponsor military appreciation nights and to recognize its birthday. It paid the Buffalo Bills to sponsor its Salute to the Service DOD even paid teams for the “opportunity” to perform surprise welcome home promotions for troops returning from deployments and to recognize wounded warriors.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy later confirmed that players did not appear on field for the anthem until 2009.

This controversial topic was briefly discussed on MSNBC this week, when NFL player Marvin Washington mentioned the financial relationship between the DOD and the NFL. Civil rights activist Jesse Williams also expressed the paid patriotism in an MSNBC interview this week, calling the national anthem a “scam.”

“This is not actually part of football. This was invented in 2009 from the government paying the NFL to market military recruitment to get more people to go off and fight wars to die,” Williams said. “This has nothing to do with [the] NFL, or American pastime, or tradition. … This is to get boys and girls to go fly overseas and go kill people. They’re marketing. They’re pumping millions and millions of dollars into the NFL to get us to put on a pageant in front of the NFL football games to get you to go off and fight.”

Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post and is Director of Content for Coinivore. Follow Aaron at Twitter and Steemit.

This article is Creative Commons and can be republished in full with attribution. Like Activist Post on Facebook, subscribe on YouTube, follow on Twitter and at Steemit.

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41 Comments on "Government vs. NFL: Organization May Be Forced to Return Paid Patriotism Funds Again"

  1. #1 I am in full accordance with my belief that this Republic was designed as the greatest nation on earth. THANK you to GOD through CHRIST, and thank you to our founders. My apologies that the democommunists and republisocialists and the people have let this nation down. PEOPLE it is our duty to hold our politicians feet to the fire so they serve the people and not as they are doing, themselves. I have not voted for an elite in over 20 years. I try to support people that love this country as much as I do.
    #2 I quit watching the NFL over 3 years ago, dislike the socialist attitudes of the LEAGUE, and the idea that they would allow the Government to use their stadiums to be holding facilities when the Defecation contacts the rotary oscillator and enslave the citizens is saddening. The LEAGUE is Anti Second Amendment, and ACTS like the ROMANS in delivering Bread and Circuses while the people fall asleep at the wheel
    #3 would rather work towards helping my community rather than tearing it down, like some of the players, broadcasters, media, owners do.
    #4 overpaid primadona’s I have no use for. Would rather work at my home, read a book, spend time with my family and go to CHURCH on the LORD’s day.

    • oh ,please spare us your religious fervor declarations. the nfl is not the problem,the district of criminals,washington is. want to help? help overturn the present system and start over from scratch.

      • The District of Criminals is the problem, but Idiots, like antifa usable stooges are not the answer. The PEOPLE in this nation have the opportunity to get rid of the establishment people every 2 to 6 years, but most refuse to do it. I have protested, I have educated, I have informed, I have voted, I have voted to remove the PEOPLE in DC. Will do that, will also be prepared when the time for work and action are at hand. Which is why I work and prepare now. unfortunately the masses love being led by the nose. I don’t.

        • good then leave religion out of your comments.

          • NO I DON’T and will NOT You can think that you evolved, I know that I was created by GOD. I owe to him all that I have and am.

          • lol lol says who? a silly superstition thats all. for all you know this god is not only a she but might be an alien too. lol nothing magical about it.

          • Never said magic, is not superstition, when we die you can have eternal life in heaven or death in hell, your free will to choose, choose wisely.

          • superstitions are out of date. when you die there is nothing but your consciousness that does not recall who you were.

        • Voting is legitimizing the fraudulent elections. I consider it to be immoral on my end.

    • As many people have said before: Dissent is the highest form of patriotism [and free speech as per the First Amendment]. I may not like the other person’s message but the First Amendment is far more sacred than any religion, sports function or military organization. DEFEND THE BILL OF RIGHTS. Thank you.

      • It’s in a coma and I think it’s brain dead. I always wonder why people are suddenly so interested in it when it’s been dead for so long. The Patriot Act alone was a legislative coup. The NDAA put a double-tap into it. The NSA surveillance program was a raping of it on so many levels. Churches got co-opted in the 50s with a tax-free status as long as they didn’t get involved in politics; which is a first amendment vasectomy. Yet, people keep insisting there is something left in it to defend. Rights are taken, privileges are granted. These were granted to us by our owners. And it was a red herring anyway so as to get people to accept the constitution being shoved down our throats. Look up some of our history. The Constitution was the end of liberty and the beginning of tyranny. It granted power to the rich to protect us from the rich. The Bill of Rights was the only decent thing in it, and they began decimating that from the get go. If Rockefeller hadn’t done such a good job of getting the Dept. of Education going, we might still have people who know the real history of this country. It’s a long struggle, liberty has been losing the whole while, but some of us still fight on.

  2. Scams feel homey, like Christmas.

  3. Forget the DOD money; how does the NFL qualify as a “tax exempt organization”? Take that away from them. It’s a “perk” they should NEVER have been given.

    • just as churches of all denominations. how do they get that perk/ its contrary to the good of the country.

      • Non-sequitur and an apples to oranges comparison. Your argument is null and void.

      • Churches got to keep their tax-exempt status in the 50s. All they had to do was promise to stay out of politics. The real question is why are we having to pay taxes at all? Income tax was fraudulently approved.

        • they broke that promise,bring on the tax man. exactly on taxes why do we pay? before 1913 what did they do to make money for things.?

          • tariffs were the main thing. Also bonds. And the government has never made things. It takes a cut out of your money to give to someone else to make them. Usually someone who contributed to campaign funds. Government is a mafia that lets you pick one of their choices they provide you. But picking which hand holds the whip doesn’t make you free.

        • Taxes are how the corrupt government involves all of the citizens in their illegal Bankster Wars. It is a method of control and perpetual servitude to the state. Most of our tax money is eventually transferred to the kingdoms of the corporate bosses. — the 1%.

        • income tax is criminal. We need to return to Tariff’s and excise taxes. THE IRS and the FEDERAL RESERVE started in the same year. 1913. The Creature from JEKYLL island

  4. Wut?? My ‘taxdollars’ are funding these idiots. I don’t even watch them.
    Maybe the gubbers in the east will support me and mine….lol!

  5. Isn’t it obvious that the NFL couldn’t care less about their fans? Why do we need them? Can’t you find a better way of spending your time than watching a bunch of self-righteous egomaniacs play football?

    • Just goes to show how far the populace has fallen. It’s more of a cult or religion than true sports.
      Rome acted this same way just before it crumbled.

  6. Wait until they get drafted, again.. (lol)

  7. Not to mention the national anthem is racist AF if you read the whole lyrics

  8. When I go to work every day, I have to leave most of my constitutional rights at the door. If I acted like some of the spoiled NFL brats I’ve seen, I’d be out on the street very quickly. Why should they be any different from the rest of us?

    • Why should you submit like a spineless little nothing? Your reasoning is that if you can’t be a real woman, then everyone else should be just as weak as you. Basically, you’re telling us that you are selling your principles for money. Pretty pathetic. I hope your job sucks.

    • Why are you so weak that you give up your rights for a paycheck? Your reasoning is that since you are such a weakling, devoid of principle, that everyone else should be as weak as you to be considered a grown-up. That’s pretty pathetic reasoning. I really hope your job sucks.

    • You didn’t surrender your rights at the door, the system took them from you. You sound like a person who wouldn’t exercise those rights even if you had them. Your defeatist attitude emboldens people like Trump and cronies to remove more rights from the citizenry. And what will you do or say when you wake up one day and realize that your weak attitude helped to bring about a police state? From America the beautiful to AmeriKKKa the Police State is a short straight line.

  9. This same nation, that they are protesting against, has allowed and enabled many minorities to rise to the status of celebrity and bloated salaries.

    Anyone else see the hypocrisy here?

  10. Most of the money for the NFL was to promote the military. It wasn’t a freebie. The government got something in return. They got to advertise to an age group that was most likely to join up. If the government wants to end this venue of advertising, they would most likely be hurting themselves. I’m all for ending the relationship because the only thing that I disliked about watching the games was the inordinate amount of advertising. The most annoying to me was the military ads.

    These types of protest are nothing new. They are being hyped up by Trump and company to distract from his many failures and his ineptitude as a leader. It is unfortunate that his followers have been taken to the cleaners once again. Instead of focusing on jobs, income inequality, unemployment, healthcare, and a lot more, Trump is acting like the Pied Piper and leading his children into a huge smokescreen. Trump revels in the War of Words as a diversion for he knows full well that his attics will dominate the news. In the past month he has verbally attacked a number of countries, American citizens, and his own appointees.

    As old and cliched as this tactic is, the entire country seems to fall for it. It dominates the headlines and riles up a lot of anger on both sides which escalates and separates everyone even more. Kudos, Mr. Trump — mission accomplished.

    And as to the Star Spangled Banner, it was a poorly written poem by a lawyer that described HIS feelings after the battle of Fort McHenry. To read any thing else into the lyrics is all illusion and misdirected imagination. The phonies who call themselves “patriots” because they wear a flag pin in their lapel or put their hands over their hearts to recite the pledge of allegiance or wrapping themselves in the flag are fooling themselves if they think that is what patriotism is about. Patriotism isn’t even about a marine going to Iraq and fighting a corporate war, thats aggression. True patriotism is when a citizen is willing to lay down their lives in defense of their homeland, where ever that may be.

    Shouting “USA” at a sports event with a beer in one hand and a hot dog in the other just isn’t going to cut it.
    The best comment I have heard concerning all this hoopla came from an active military man. He said, he does not agree with them, but he DOES respect their right to protest in a peaceful manner and that he would defend that right with his life. People, that is a statement from a REAL patriot, and all of the naysayers should take heed of it.

  11. Westcoastdeplorable | September 29, 2017 at 6:21 pm | Reply

    Didn’t see this in the article but everyone needs to know the NFL is a NON-PROFIT organization. Why is this being allowed by IRS?

    • The NFL is a useful tool to keep the masses dumbed down and lazy. that is why the corrupt DC criminals allow the Tax Exempt status

  12. Outrage in the USSA over the NFL and lack of patriotism, yet not even a peep about the 125,000 Americans who die each year from the properly prescribed drugs they got from their “doctor”…

  13. This is really funny… you have to Pay millions to ni… to stand during your anthem? What retards.

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