Sound Off: Should the Military Pay for Tributes at Sporting Events?

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Whenever Americans go to an NFL game and see a Tribute to the Troops, everyone gets to feel good. Service members and their families get the glow that comes from recognition and appreciation from American culture at large and civilians get to stand up, take off their hats, put their hands awkwardly over their hearts and feel like the did something to support our men and women in uniform.

However, word leaked out this week that the Department of Defense is paying the NFL to stage these tributes, over $6 million since 2011 to 16 different NFL teams. You can see a full list of teams and dollar amounts embedded at the bottom of this news story at

On a different front, a Washington Post column wonders if military tributes at baseball games are just empty gestures that should be abandoned.

OK,  this is a live one: How do you feel about military tributes at sporting events? Should NFL teams profit from those tributes? Does it make you feel different if that moment was bought and paid for?

  • wtpworrier

    Should the Military pay for Tributes at Sporting Events?….I say no but, if they didn’t pay, there wouldn’t be many tributes to the Military.

    • purpleheartpark

      and that is the Reality….

    • David

      I say yes

    • anonymous

      That’s not true MLB hasn’t made the military pay for tributes. The NFL has as well as some pro hockey teams.

    • Ed Thornton


  • SkyMan77

    No… They should be free… Forget the NFL; they’ve become a very sad propaganda machine anyways… They’ve sold us out and I’m done with them for good….

  • 8950331

    Unequivocally NO…by the very fact that these, or any sports team or group, are presently enjoying, playing, & making big money from the freedom to participate in any sport; the least that they can do is to expend a little in genuine appreciation, in honor to those who continually put it all on the line, for these teams to do so….

    • Hooksdown

      Roger, that. The team gets credited with great patriotism while exercising avarice.

  • Stubby

    No. No. No. Not when pay and Benifits are being cut. How insulting this is to see the brass attempt to hide this.

  • Yellow Devil

    No. If the NFL can’t spend the few moment to unfurl the American moment, or invite some military service members/veterans onto the field or give a moment of silence or whatever, without the government dangling cash their way, than to hell with them.

    • Yellow Devil

      Meant to say “American flag” instead of and moments as in plural.

  • Guest

    Not only NO, but hell NO

  • Duddy

    That’s an embarrassment to the NFL

    • Charlie Self

      It should be, but the NFL, like too many sports organizations today, is just another money grubbing group.

  • GERN

    This should be an embarrassment to the military also.

  • Mark

    NO! They get to be out there playing a GAME because of our service members. We who have served know that serving in the military is no game and your life is on the line.

  • Jameson Pate

    No! Absolutely not!

  • Muttling

    Absolutely NOT. This is not a military advertisement such as a commercial or billboard. Teams turning it into an income source instead of an honest gesture are a disgrace..

    • Guest

      Well, that’s exactly what the military is using it as. THAT is why they are paying. It IS an advertisement, it is just veiled as gratitude. Nothing new here.

  • purpleheartpark

    Hard to get excited about this…..Very few Markets do anything for Free…Don’t see Rhonda Rousey, LeBron James, Phil Michelson, or Dave Connelly, wearing US Military Ads. I believe because the Audience is so large and so compressed that’s why the Military Chose to spend their Advertising Dollars in the NFL…Ever see The US Open have Military Advertising or The Master’s, Just to small of a Market…Don’t say the NFL should do it for Free, because no other Pro-Sport is going to do it either…

    • w30442

      I don’t think this is about advertising. It isn’t supposed to be a recruiting tool. It is about saying thanks and being a tribute to the people that protect this country. I wonder if the NFL is paid when they have their players were pink for breast cancer awareness or if they were paid for the tributes right after 9-11.

      • 8950331

        Only 14 of the teams take this payment, so they’re the ones to be targeted for rebuke by the fans. I would lay odds that the greater majority of the fans that attend these games, or watch it on TV, are there to be entertained by the whole of the spectacles on display; as well as to show their patriotic appreciation to our men & women serving them in uniform. During a Patriots game at Foxborough Stadium, the reenactors of the minutemen, especially when they’re shooting volleys of salute, are greatly looked forward to by the fans…& this appreciation harkens back to our revolution.

  • Sam McKernan

    Jesus Christ, can’t the NFL get enough money. I thought the tributes were free! No way should they be getting paid to say thanks to the troops.

  • Jim Fabin

    Hell no, why should we buy their respect after we earned it! If anything they owe the military.

  • I say..shame on the NFL! Shame on baseball leagues..greed greedy rich have no conscience! They should not only give the money back or better yet donate every dime they’ve taken to wounded warriors..say thank you for your sacrifices..then hold still for the soldier to beat them down like they deserve for even taking the money in the first place. Shame shame shame on them!!!

    • GI Joe

      Organizations are on TV because they have PAID for that exposure. That’s capitalism. No, no organization, certainly not a pro sport, is going to give away air time for FREE.

  • Ken Robertson

    Until this story I had no idea they were paying the nfl for this! Completely taken aback by this I’m wondering did military offer the money or if NFL said you have to pay for this totally a no on my behalf

  • Jason

    Millions for defense, not one red cent for tribute. Even if it is for our own military, the Tax payers should not be paying for it. After 14 years it’s lost it’s meaning, the average joe out there has never served and is just thankful someone else is doing it so he doesn’t have to. Stop now and put that money where it can actually help service members.

    • Richard

      When it is all about the money we are nothing better than mercenaries. When it is all about the money is it really a service? Should we replace the name “armed services” with “armed mercenaries?

      I appreciate the honest gratitude of the average joe, and don’t want to be a mercenary. I don’t want to suck my fellow americans dry. We make plenty.

  • Leon Suchorski

    What would a sporting event be without the opening tribute of singing the NATIONAL ANTHEM. That has become so much a part of the games that to not have it, would be a total loss. I say to have more and bigger tributes, to swell the hearts of the fans, because they want it. But to pay for something that has become part of the game? NEVER. The people that throw the events, know that the fans want it as much as they want the seventh inning stretch in baseball.

    • Jason

      The star spangle banner was always soung at sporting events. The military tribute started after Sept 11th.

      • Leon Suchorski

        Jason, did you flunk history class? That song came to us from a poem that was written by Francis Scott Key, after he witnessed an all night battle to take our Ft. McHenry. The music was added years later, so if that is not a military tribute to the men who valiantly fought there, What is?

      • Jason

        Leon, I believe you are confused between the meaning of a custom and a tribute. Showing respect is not a tribute, it’s customarily done at sporting events, and has been around a lot longer than the meaningless flag waving( tribute the writer talks about) that started after Sept 11. Since you feel obliged to comment on school, I believe the relevant material was covered in detail at some point during your military service.

  • Mike

    Have the NFL pay for the show or lose their tax exemption.

    • Dwight

      The NFL or any sports organization should never have any tax exemptions!!! EVER!!!

  • E. Woody

    I thought they were doing this for US but I guess they honor to make money is more important. I enjoy football all my life and will still watch the Cowboys win it all this year!

  • Randy

    I can’t believe the NFL would actually ask for money to honor our military, this is a huge black eye and they will have alot of back peddling to make this go away

    • Guest

      No, the NFL is a business, and part of the freedom we fight for is the right to seek compensation for your services. That includes providing the personnel and equipment necessary to carry the image of the military into millions of households.
      Should taxpayers pay for it? No. Does the NFL have a right to charge for it? Yes. That means that if the NFL doesn’t find it worthwhile to provide the tributes for free, they don’t have to provide them at all.

  • jwilson

    If we have to pay to have a tribute to our Military then it is all for the wrong reason. If the owners do not think enough of the Military to invite THEM without stuffing their pockets then it is all for am not. I am truly saddened to learn this, has I have three grandchildren in the military, 2 in the Navy and I in the Marines, the government needs to keep the money and give pay raises to those that are saving our country. Because, let me tell when they first go in those kids, and yes I mean kids, make nothing. They have to make rank, and that takes a while, to be able to make any kind of money at all. They should keep the money and feed our military, so they don’t take money out of their measly checks to pay for their food.

  • Pamela

    No they shouldn’t … We should be honoring our military men and women that gave us our freedom to be able to play and watch sports…

  • joanna

    No we should not pay for the honor of using a military color guard. They should in return provide them seats at the event, food. I never knew that when we did this honor guard for an NFL TEAM that our command paid for it. That’s disgusting..and a slap in the face to the military being honored.

  • Quinn

    These games can be played…because of the military! Disgusted. Shameful.

    • robert messer

      No, and further more, who pays for the fly-overs???????????

  • Chris

    known this for years… The NFL is one of the most money hungry organizations … Unfortunately even if you only support your team, your still supporting the NFL bottom line…

  • jennifer

    No, they should not have to pay for this . In fact, the sports venues should pay the military to provide the personnel . Sports venues pay for all of their other services and entertainment. Given what the members of the military do for all of us, that is the least these venues should do.

  • Dan

    For the amount of money the NFL makes they shoould pay the military thats unamerican to charge the military for or veterans .

  • Joe Navarro

    It’s all about money. Some of us served our country, that is showing the ultimate pride. Why should we have to pay for it to be shown on ads?! I have had to eat out of a dumpster because I need money, but these idiots want to cut what little I make. It’s a disgrace!

  • glockman

    “HELL” no,this is taxpayer money,a total rip off by the money hungry cost too much,players over paid,drunk buy a ticket,then have to pay for a one hour game that takes three hours because of commercials every 5-10 minutes.I’ll ride my Harley seeing everything around me,enjoying the real outdoors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • John

    As a veteran I find this appalling. They pay players millions to play a game but can’t honor our troops who made it possible for them to play in a free country. Greed has no limits.

  • EdC

    This is one of the most disgusting things I have read in a long time. Here we are being all patriotic at the NFL games when it is nothing but an overgrown commercial. The NFL should be ashamed of itself. The DoD should ask them to pay for the privilege of having a Military Honor Guard on the field. This type of info should be circulated to more people.

  • George P

    Most military agencies are spare parts deficient. Wasting money to wave the flag does not help our maintainers!

  • Jerry

    I find it unfortunately, to be so typical of the NFL, to be just another revenue generating venue. The US Military should not be paying any money to the NFL for anything at all. When a US Color Guard is at a game providing the colors, the color guard should be provided seats for the game at no charge. To me, when a military flyover is done at a stadium, the NFL should pay for the fuel for that flyover. Considering how much money the NFL makes each year, they should be paying the US Military to honor them. If it wasn’t for the US MILITARY, there would be no NFL!

  • ron

    “NO” the military’s should not have to pay for any and all sports events. are pay teams or players to represent the military it should be an honor to show pride in your military and your country. And who ever is doing this are asking for money is probably looking to stuff his or her own pockets. Greed is the one big thing that makes those of us who are true patriotic Americans different from those that are just out for self. But they call it Business. I can it greed.

  • Bobby

    This has to be gross negligence on both parts…the US government and the NFL. Taxpayers have a right to know how their taxes are being used and for what purpose. Both DoD and the NFL should be ashamed of this practice and we as taxpayers should be appalled. Either do away with military tributes at these venues all together or strike a new deal w/the NFL that stipulates these types of military tributes should be free at no cost to the DoD.

  • Anita Werner

    The ball park and team owners should pay the military, which is the most respectful thing to do, to allow our service men and woman to pay tribute to our military. The military needs to use this money wisely and they seem to have not done so. We have military who need better incomes and medical help and you name it, they don’t get paid enough. Take that money the ball park and team owners have to pay and give it to our military.

  • PV2 Charles

    No, not at all. It’s an American sport! My brothers (I’m in the Army) serve over seas so we can watch the game and have the freedom to keep the game. If the government pays for it then there goes all our pay and benifits. The NFL should appreciate us and what we do. We risk our lives everyday and the NFL wants the government to wave money at them to do so. How pathetic!

  • Joe bates

    Honor comes from the heart not the pocket book. It’s disgraceful to pay someone to honor you

  • Charles Sanders

    Who was the genius military representative who thought it was okay for the military to pay for the tribute in the first place? Are the US Armed Forces so ashamed that they feel they must pay to toot their own horn? US Baseball, Basketball, Football and Soccer should be ashamed to have let this tribute nonsense even exist; consider the crowds that are drawn to these tribute events. America, we are not what we used to be.

  • Terry Mackie

    It’s not really a tribute if you are paying for it.

  • Mike

    I had no idea the DOD payed for these tributes!! This totally unethical on more than one level. The DOD paying this money out to professional sports and wherever else it is paid is a slap in the face of all military service members who are not being paid what they deserve to be paid for what they do for our country. Congress is as well guilty of not supporting our service members the way they should be compensated. Instead the Congress,Pentagon and DOD do everything they can it seems to make sure our service members pay is held in check along with benefits ! And we have professional sport teams accepting payments for tributes to the troops and also there are the fly overs at events that cost money that could go towards the service members pay and benefits instead. These things need to stop costing the troops and instead these businesses need to repay the money with the demand that these millions of dollars be for pay and benefits of the service members and their families! !! I am totally disgusted by all of these actions by government agencies and billionaire owned businesses at the expense of the troops. It makes me sick.

  • J Cook

    Paid tribute, heck no. Paid tribute is no tribute, if the Multi Billionaires of professional sports can not pay tribute to service members and veterans without being paid to do so, then I don’t want their hollow tribute.

  • Ron

    Not only NO! But HELL NO!!

  • Thom Gourley

    X2 From above. Plus whomever the DOD personnel and their supervisors that authorized these payments should be fired with no benefits, no severance no pension NOTHING!

  • Howard

    While I am unpleasantly surprised, all you need do is watch the players during the national anthem.
    Most are talking, digging and scratching while it is being sung. If the leadership in the NFL were patriotic at all they would require that all players and staff at least show some semblance of respect for flag and country at the games, but I digress. My opinion; the NFL should be paying the military for being there.

  • BudHall

    I was going to say “NO!”, but most everyone has beat me to it. So, I guess I’ll just say “NO!” too. If units are able(time & manpower) to participate, that’s great; but to pay for the privilege of doing a tribute to yourself,…I don’t think so, no way.

  • Retired Marine

    Shame on the DoD for spending $ that otherwise can actually assist the military family and veterans. The professional sports management, broadcasters, and players associations all should operate honorably on occasions where such a tribute reflects on all Americans and brings credit to their community and sports entertainment. After all, its just entertainment…

  • Jerry w

    No dime should ever be spent on such a stupid idea it helps recruit. If anything it should be paid to the enlisted men and women in those areas. Fire who decided to pay and the accounting. People as well never ever should a sports or any other cost to rep the military

  • GDDougherty

    Absolutely Not! The Military should not have to pay a cent. I never knew this and I will certainly look at it differently now. I thought the NFL did the tributes because it’s the right thing to do. Give the money to the American Disabled Veterans. That would make a difference.

  • Dan

    TO get 40 50 mil. to play a GAME is not a game, I for one do not watch sports of any type

  • Ron R

    If it is paid for, then it is not a tribute nor an honor. So NO is the answer.

  • Diana

    Absolutely NOT be paid! The NFL and the teams that get paid should be ashamed! What low lifers! I cannot tell you contemptible I find this entire situation! THIS IS the land of the FREE because of the BRAVE military personnel who lay their lives on the line every day for a pittance! Not some huge NFL contract worth hundred’s of thousands of dollars! Dirt Bags!

  • John

    I am appalled that DoD is actually paying the NFL and other leagues for these so-called tributes. Nothing heart-felt about it if we have to pay for the recognition. Maybe we can let the NFL do it for free after all their players take SARP training and all the other sensitivity training our troops get force-fed. Otherwise, we’re just bankrolling an organization that, vehement protestations aside, has no problem with their players beating up their wives and girlfriends.


    NFL/NASCAR and others should paid the Military for there services. NO BRAINER

  • Rod

    Come on people, enough is enough! With all the money the NFL has you think they could afford to show allegience to the personnel who protect this country. Greed, Greed and more Greed!!!!!!

  • Col

    Ridiculous. DoD should never pay for a tribute. The American public should demand a tribute and NFL and others should be proud to provide. It adds to the sports experience of a spectator and enhances the NFL reputation, and yet DoD has to pay. Doesn’t make sense.

  • Walt

    This is utterly ridiculous…both on the part of the Pentagon and NFL. Shame on both!!! I wonder if NASCAR also gets paid- I doubt it, and know first hand that Military guests are provided pit tours, suite seats, meals, etc.

  • Nathan Peters

    No but He’ll No

  • NBC Zombie

    No, not now, not ever, and who ever cooked this up (and the brass that greenlighted this at all levels), should be demoted to the last grade they successfully served in!

  • Greg

    Military Tributes at sporting events are good advertising for the military. The military makes it possible for these events to take place. If not for our all volunteer military, many of these pro athletes would have to serve instead of playing sports. How many celebrates that sing the national anthem or perform the half time show have to pay to perform? I feel that for a military tribute at a professional sporting event, those military men and women participating should be treated like celebrates and provided a skybox with the best food with no money exchanged from the military or the sports team.

  • Chuck

    No. If you have to pay for it are they really giving you a tribute?

  • Charles E. Beres

    As a retired military officer I agree with the above comments. I think both the NFL and the military should be ashamed that we have to pay to have our service members recognized.

  • Frog

    So the fatcat owners have been getting the credit while the rest of us pick up the tab? No, this should not be. If the owners have to pay for the tributes they will be fewer and less grand, but perhaps they would be more meaningful.

  • LKW

    No. The NFL and any professional sport making money by honoring the military is WRONG! The government is trying to cut our pay and benefits, makes you fight for disability, and trying to put an end to our retirement plan. Not to mention the messing around with medical benefits and for active duty the commissaries and exchanges but they are going to pay to honor active duty and vets at games? What the heck is wrong with our government.

  • Rawhomer77

    Wow, this is a disgusting new low, I bet the Military approached the NFL With this too. From the boondoggle wasteful weapons programs to the Army changing uniforms every other week, what a disgrace.