'Paid Patriotism' report claims pro teams received tax dollars t - Tucson News Now

'Paid Patriotism' report claims pro teams received tax dollars to honor troops

(Source: U.S. Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain) (Source: U.S. Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

According to a joint oversight report from Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and John McCain (R-AZ), the Department of Defense has been using tax dollars to pay professional sports teams to "honor American soldiers at sporting events."

The reports claims the DOD paid for activities like: color guard performances, enlistment ceremonies, national anthem performances, flag details, first pitches and pick drops.

"Americans across the country should be deeply disappointed that many of the ceremonies honoring troops at professional sporting events are not actually being conducted out of a sense of patriotism, but for profit in the form of millions in taxpayer dollars going from the Department of Defense to wealthy pro sports franchises," Sen. McCain said in the release."Fans should have confidence that their hometown heroes are being honored because of their honorable military service, not as a marketing ploy."

From 2012 to 2015, the DOD spent $10.4 million on marketing and advertising contracts with pro teams, according to the report.

"Fans should not be unknowing viewers of a paid-marketing campaigns. I am pleased that the Department of Defense has banned paid patriotism and the NFL has called on clubs to stop accepting payment for patriotic salutes," Sen. Flake said in a news release. "Professional sports teams do a lot of good for our military, but paid patriotism on the taxpayers' dime cheapens true displays of patriotism."

It was not just pro sport teams profiting, NASCAR allegedly received $1.5 million in 2015 alone and Indiana and Purdue universities were paid $400,000 combined.

The report also claims the following:

The Atlanta Falcons, at $879,000, received the largest amount of DOD money out of the NFL teams. They were followed by the Patriots ($700,000), Bills ($650,000), Ravens ($534,500) and Saints ($472,875).

The Arizona Cardinals did not receive any money from the DOD, according to the report.

In the MLB, the top five were the Atlanta Braves ($450,000), Boston Red Sox ($100,000), Milwaukee Brewers ($80,000), New York Mets ($51,000) and Philadelphia Phillies ($48,085).

The report states the Arizona Diamondbacks were paid $40,000 for two events in 2014.

• An on-field Arizona Army National Guard oath ceremony, color guard demonstration, scorecard delivery and 20-game entry vouchers for two Diamondbacks home games.

• The opportunity for an Arizona Army National Guard soldier to deliver the ceremonial first pitch before the Sept. 17, 2014, home game.

In the NBA, the top five were: the Atlanta Hawks ($225,000), Boston Celtics ($195,000), Indiana Pacers ($115,000), Dallas Mavericks ($55,000) and Portland Trailblazers ($35,000).

The Phoenix Suns were not mentioned in the report.

In the NHL, the top five were: Minnesota Wild ($570,000), Boston Bruins ($280,000), Carolina Hurricanes ($75,000), Detroit Red Wings ($41,500), Florida Panthers ($40,000),

The Phoenix Coyotes were not mentioned in the report.

Copyright 2015 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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