Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Paid Patriotism in the US is it repeated here?

As more and more and  more have joined American football player Colin Kaepernick’s protest movement against police brutality, a move that has come to be something of direct resistance to Donald Trump after the President weighed in on the issue in is interesting to note that the military paid pro sports teams $10.4 million for patriotic displays, troop tributes
"The contentious move to take a knee during the national anthem before a game, or stand with arms locked in silent protest, follows in a long tradition of sports stars standing up for what they believe to be right — but some charge that it is unpatriotic and that politics should be kept out of sports.Kaepernick’s protest first occurred 13 months ago, but was not immediately noticed. At that point, he simply sat on the benches during the US national anthem during a preseason game, just next to the giant Gatorade jugs next to him.But, he later transitioned to taking a knee in protest - saying he was doing so to show more respect for military veterans - which turned out to be a much more iconic pose. Several other players joined his protest, even though they received a lot of criticism from football fans who said that it was disrespectful to the United States. Still, the movement did not gain huge traction last year".
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people, and people of color," Kaepernick said in a press conference after first sitting out during the anthem. "To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street, and people getting paid leave, and getting away with murder."
 Mr Trump became a catalyst for the protest Friday when he said during a campaign rally in Alabama, saying he wished that NFL players would be fired for kneeling during the national anthem.
Some football teams chose not to come out onto the field at all after Mr Trump’s comments, while other teams have allowed their players to protest at their own discretion. In addition to most, if not all, of the NFL teams seeing some players protesting this weekend, baseball professionals and basketball professionals have joined in.
Notably, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady called Mr Trump’s comments “divisive”, and locked arms with his teammates during his game Sunday. Brady has remained mostly silent about Mr Trump, whom he has called a friend in the past.
Mr Trump charges that kneeling during the national anthem is disrespectful to American servicemen and women, as do many of his supporters. The White House has repeatedly attempted to rebrand the protest as a protest of the American flag instead of against police brutality and racism in the US.
After Kaepernick first started the protest last year, he was criticised for introducing politics into sports. Many said that football was somehow sacrosanct, and that it should be a place where people can rise above politics.
“Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a b**** off the field right now, out, he's fired. He's fired,'” Mr Trump said. “You know, some owner is going to do that. He's going to say, 'That guy that disrespects our flag, he's fired.' And that owner, they don't know it [but] they'll be the most popular person in this country.”
However it seems  Teams in the five major American sports leagues have taken in more than $10 million in marketing deals with the military since 2012, but the Department of Defense (DOD) can't account for all of the contracts, much less the money.
The fact that teams like the New York Jets had taken military money to honor hometown troops was revealed this spring, but a report released Wednesday shows that the spending was much larger and much more widespread than originally believed.
In all, the DOD spent $10.4 million on marketing contracts with teams in the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and MLS. This does not count sponsorships in NASCAR, which could total as much as $100 million.
Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, both Republicans from Arizona, conducted the study, and were concerned by the fact that the DOD could not account for large chunks of the money it spent.
Over the course of the effort, we discovered the startling fact that DOD cannot accurately account for how many contracts it has awarded or how much has been spent; its official response to our request only accounted for 62 percent of its 122 contracts with the major league teams that we were able to uncover and 70 percent of the more than $10 million it actually spent on these contracts.
While the report concedes that some of the money appears to have been spent on legitimate recruiting efforts, a large portion went to "paid patriotism" at games.
These paid tributes included on-field color guard, enlistment and reenlistment ceremonies, performances of the national anthem, full-field flag details, ceremonial first pitches͕ and puck drops.
Of the 122 contracts analyzed, 72 were for "paid patriotism," and most of those were sponsored by the Army National Guard. Of the six contracts that McCain and Flake found particularly egregious, four were from the National Guard and two from the Air Force
With the coming autumn internationals  coming in both Rugby and Soccer we can expect the UK to provide a Military presence and a repeat of last years poppy row.
Should we be asking if the UK Department of Defence  are also engaged in "Paid Patriotism" which sees our Teams running on to the Pitch to be welcomed by men in Military Uniforms.
I have huge respect for our soldiers , but  my respect  means I do not want them involved in illegal foreign wars and used by cynical politicians  to gain support for their delusion that the UK is a world power and carry on sending our young men and women to death and injury to prove it.

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