NFL to return over $700K to DoD for “paid patriotism”

Screenshot of the NFL's Salute to Service page.

In a  move that is eliciting praise from members of Congress, the NFL has made the decision to return more than $700,000 that was paid to certain teams to honor the military during games.

The NFL was heavily criticized last year for “paid patriotism” – taking money from the US Defense Dept to put on marketing events at games, that pay tribute to our nation’s servicemembers. Some of those events included emotional reunions and full-field displays of the American flag.

Senator Jeff Flake -one of the harshest critics of this practice- was very happy with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s announcement on Wednesday. Following a review of 100 marketing agreements over a three year period, he said $723,734 would be returned to the government.

“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 misspent funds to the taxpayers,” Flake said.

Flake and fellow Senator John McCain revealed last year that the Atlanta Falcons made more than $1 million from the DoD between 2011 and 2014.  In total– in that same  period of time — the Defense Dept spent $5.4 million in contracts with 14 NFL teams.

Goodell  told ESPN that marketing activities would be audited more frequently in the future, to ensure this practice does not continue.

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  • Michele graduated with a B.S. in Telecommunication from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. She has spent numerous years working in the news industry in south Florida, including many positions ranging from being a news writer at WSVN, the Fox affiliate in Miami to being an associate news producer at WPLG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Miami. Michele has also worked in Public Relations and Marketing.

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