Some of us feel a certain sense of pride and patriotism when we see or attend sporting events where Veterans are honored, jets fly by, and coaches and players wear camouflage.
But as we reported last year on the RAD show, it’s all phony. These teams and leagues are neither honoring those who served, nor are they in any way contributing to the causes and needs of our wounded warriors. Just the opposite, in fact. A year ago we knew this was true because of multiple leaks. Today, just in time for Veterans Day, the official report has been released chronicling the undeniable fact that the Defense Department spends over $10 million in contracts with all of the major American sports leagues with one goal; to make it look as though we support our troops, when in fact we simply pay for phone patriotism.
As a son, grandson and nephew of those who served through World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Dessert Storm, It’s a subject close to my heart and sickening beyond words. To far too many of you it’s “what’s the big deal man, chill out.”
The big deal, as always, is the commentary it lays at our feet. Our feet as a nation and a society. Shame on all of us.
It’s easy to point the finger at the big, bad, corporations who insist on our own military having to pay to be honored, but it’s much deeper than that.
Do you know why they need to pay? Because so many of us take what they do for granted and don’t clamor for them to be honored. We’d be just as entertained by a dog catching a Frisbee.
The commissioner of Major League Baseball, Rob Manfred, callously said that the amounts paid by the military are essentially a “rounding error,” when compared to the revenues of the leagues. This is brazen beyond appalling. In addition to saying “we’re so profitable we don’t really need your money,” he never answers the glaringly obvious query of “if the amount is so insignificant, why take it in the first place?”
There will be no answers coming. We’ll see first if there’s any legitimate outrage, which I doubt. If there does happen to be some, we’ll see a few genuinely donated and free tributes to the troops and then the leagues and military will revert to type.
The military needs to market itself and needs to maintain a sense of pride amongst the citizenry. The idea that it has to pay for TV commercials for recruiting purposes is American Capitalism at its finest. The idea it has to pay to honor fallen or wounded heroes is disgusting.