Many fans may assume “patriotic” displays during games — the singing of the anthem, color guards, and Jumbotron testimonials featuring veterans and combat heroes — were arranged by the team.
But prior to last year, those displays were largely paid for with tax dollars. In November 2015, a report prepared at the behest of U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona found the Pentagon spent $53 million on marketing and advertising arrangements with college and professional sports organizations from 2012 to 2015. Their goal was recruitment.
Titled “Tackling Paid Patriotism: A Joint Oversight Report,” the report found the Milwaukee Brewers and the Green Bay Packers benefited from Department of Defense funding. In 2012 and 2014, the Packers received $200,000 for:
An opportunity to perform a pregame onfield activity or ceremony.
One pregame MVP party deck package for 200 Wisconsin Army National Guard soldiers and their families that included food, beverages and a gift.
One co-branded promotional item.
On-field halftime entertainment with TundraVision video board coordination.
Following the report, the Department of Defense banned what it called “paid patriotism” and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell ordered an audit of all club contracts and a refund of inappropriate payments.