The New York Jets, along with 13 other teams in the NFL, have taken $5.4 million in taxpayer money between 2011 and 2014 to honor American veterans.
Instead of a true appreciation for our war heroes, the Jets specifically received $377,000 from The Department of Defense and the New Jersey National Guard during the past four seasons to honor members of the military at MetLife Stadium.
Through their agreement with the military, New York Jets officials used a portion of the proceeds given to them to recognize members of the service as “Hometown Heroes” during home games and host them at the team’s “Kickoff Lunch” and other events. New York Daily News also reported the team was paid to allow military members to work with players and personnel at the team’s Hometown Huddle charity event.
“It strikes me as unseemly that these teams realize the public believes they’re honoring these service members as a public service,” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said.
Flake believes the practice to be a waste of taxpayer money.
“So to find out they’re doing it because they’re being compensated leaves a bad taste in your mouth.”
On Sunday, the Jets attempted to defend themselves by discussing their support of the troops via their own money.
“The New York Jets have consistently supported all five branches of the U.S. armed forces – independent of and unrelated to any sponsorship relationship — by participating in many programs which honor their service and sacrifice to our country,” the Jets said in a statement.
One program they spoke of is Building for America’s Bravest, an organization that constructs smart homes for severely injures servicemen, which the Jets donated $1 million to recently.
Patrick Daugherty, a spokesman for the New Jersey National Guard, claims the deal is valuable for advertising and recruiting purposes.
“Promoting and increasing the public’s understanding and appreciation of military in the New Jersey Army National Guard increases the propensity for service in our ranks and garners public support for our Hometown Team,” Daugherty said in a statement.
Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.) also believes “it’s money well spent.”
“People watching the NFL are generally inclined to be pro-military,” King said. “As far as the Jets, in addition to whatever money they’ve gotten from the (Department of Defense), I do know they are very actively engaged with veterans. The Jets do far more on balance than they get paid for.”
Other New York teams such as the Giants, Mets and Yankees have also honored the arm forces at events, but did so without the aid of military money.