The Kansas City Chiefs, the St. Louis Rams, and other NFL teams could soon stop receiving federal dollars to honor the U.S. military.
The U.S. Senate has voted to keep the Defense Department from spending any more taxpayer money to honor the military at sporting events. Arizona Senator John McCain (R) offered an amendment that has been added to the national defense budget to that end, in response to reports that the Pentagon spent nearly $7-million for NFL teams to honor troops during games.
“I and so many other Americans were shocked and disappointed to learn that several NFL teams weren’t sponsoring these activities out of the goodness of their own hearts, but were doing so to make an extra buck,” McCain said in offering the amendment.
The Senate agreed to the amendment with unanimous consent.
It also calls on the NFL to donate an amount of money equal to what it was paid to honor the Armed Forces to military-related charities.
“The NFL raked in revenues totaling some $9.5-billion. The absolute least they can do to begin to make up for this misjudgment is to return those taxpayer dollars to charities supporting our troops, veterans, and military families,” said McCain.
McCain said it is additionally troubling that the expenditures came as the military is enduring budget cuts under sequestration.
“At the same time the [National] Guard was spending millions on pro sports advertising, it was also running out of money for critical training for our troops,” said McCain. “At the end of fiscal year 2014, the National Guard Bureau and Army National Guard announced they were facing $101-million shortfall in the account used to pay National Guardsmen and could force a delay in critical training and drills because they couldn’t afford to pay soldiers.”
According to reports, The Kansas City Chiefs have received $250,000 in the past four years for honoring the military, while the St. Louis Rams received $60,000.
The Senate is continuing debate of that budget authorization bill.