We know that the US Department of Defense doled out $5.4 million from 2011 to 2014 to fourteen NFL teams to stage these warm-hearted "Salute the Troops" events, as well as do product placement, advertising, and "casual" (otherwise known as "subliminal") mentions.
Dave Zirin, Nation
New York National Guard members are sworn in during halftime of a game between the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)
May 13, 2015 | All-star first baseman Carlos Delgado was not a fan of the numerous military appreciation events taking place at the ballpark a decade ago. These were staged to bolster support for the Iraq war and doubled as recruitment stations, using sports to increase the ranks of the armed forces, which had thinned dramatically after George W. Bush decided to call for a permanent era of armed conflict. As Delgado said, "I won't stand for this war.… It's a very terrible thing that happened on September 11. It's [also] a terrible thing that happened in Afghanistan and Iraq. I just feel so sad for the families that lost relatives and loved ones in the war. But I think it's the stupidest war ever."
Now we can not only see that these events were politically transparent propaganda for a flagging war effort. We know they were paid for by us. We know that the US Department of Defense doled out $5.4 million from 2011 to 2014 to fourteen NFL teams to stage these warm-hearted "Salute the Troops" events, as well as do product placement, advertising, and "casual" (otherwise known as "subliminal") mentions.
Dave Zirin, the Nation’s sports correspondent, is the author, most recently, of Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down. Named one of UTNE Reader’s “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Our World,” Zirin is a frequent guest on MSNBC, ESPN and Democracy Now! He also hosts his own weekly Sirius XM show, Edge of Sports Radio. His other books include What's My Name Fool? (Haymarket Books), A People's History of Sports in the United States (the New Press), Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love (Scribner) and, with John Wesley Carlos, The John Carlos Story. You can find all his work at www.edgeofsports.com.
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Kneeling in Fenway Park to the Gods of War, Chris Hedges, Truthdig
Boston Red Sox fans lean over "the Green Monster" to touch an American flag covering the wall during pregame ceremonies on Memorial Day in 2011. Photo by Winslow Townson
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