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The Pentagon's Propagandization of American Sports

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From youtube.com: Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem {MID-167805}
Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem
(Image by YouTube, Channel: 11Alive)
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Donald Trump's divisive rhetoric condemning NFL football players exercising their constitutional right to freedom of expression has plunged the country into a social and political crisis. Our fearless leader simply cannot abide those with whom he disagrees having a voice that is contrary to his own.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem last season was more than the president could handle. Other players following him was even worse for Trump. And so he did what he always does -- he doubled down. Now whole teams, from 8-year-olds in the peewee league to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills and others, are either kneeling a la Kaepernick or are refusing to even come out on the field during the national anthem.

Trump, a draft dodger who refused to serve his country in any capacity whatsoever during the Vietnam War and who intimated that former prisoner of war John McCain was a coward, is calling for anybody and everybody who does not stand at attention during the national anthem to be "fired."

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The whole thing has whipped the country into a frenzy. Kaepernick's protest is an important one. But it shouldn't be the only one. We're overlooking a very important issue -- one that is not solely from Trump's knee-jerk nationalistic patriotism. We saw it through all eight years of the Obama administration and we saw it during George W. Bush's second term, as well.

That's the issue of Defense Department propagandization of national sporting events. You see, the DOD has largely taken over professional sports.

If you've been to a professional baseball or football game anytime in the past decade, you may have noticed some changes. At every major league baseball game, "color guards" representing the most obscure organizations, like the Washington, DC subway system's police department, or the George Washington University campus police, now present the flag, march out onto the field, perform a flag ceremony, and stand there while the national anthem is played.

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At some events, military recruits are enlisted right on the field. Reunions of soldiers, sailors, marines, and their families play out in front of a stadium full of fans. It's choreographed patriotism run amok. And who pays for all of this? The Pentagon does.

Arizona's Republican senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, announced two years ago that between 2012 and 2016, the Pentagon had spent at least $6.8 million for Major League Baseball, the National Football League, and other professional sports to "honor" troops with cheap stunts at sporting events. The details are listed in a published Senate Report.

The McCain-Flake report also notes that the tally could be more than $10 million -- and could even reach $100 million -- if you count the military's marketing deals with NASCAR. The senators call this military marketing "paid patriotism."

The reality is that it's not really the Pentagon that's paying for it. You and I are paying for it. It's our tax money that's going to propagandize the American people at every major sporting event in the country. And it's not just flag ceremonies. The Pentagon is buying things like ceremonial first pitches for recent veterans, club level seats for vets at football games, and airport greetings for returning service members.

I, for one, sincerely appreciate the sacrifice that our veterans make. My dad was a veteran and served during the Korean conflict. But as John McCain says in his report, "We appreciate if they honor men and women in uniform, but not to get paid for it. If the most compelling message about military service we can deliver is the promise of game tickets, gifts, and player appearances, we need to rethink our approach to how we are inspiring qualified men and women to military service."

Some of us see standing for the national anthem as patriotic. Some of us see kneeling as patriotic. But none of us should sit idly by while the Pentagon tricks us into its own paid form of patriotism. It's un-American.

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Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

 

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Anti-torture whistleblower. CIA officer 1990-2004. Bestselling author. http://t.co/VupWLLafWk


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Kenneth Johnson

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'The senators call this military marketing "paid patriotism".'

What do you call people who can't even see through this scam?

My brother fought in the Korean War. It was brutal.

He said to me, when he got home, "It takes a long time to get over the brainwashing."

Submitted on Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017 at 1:10:30 AM

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Mark Skudlarek

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Reply to Kenneth Johnson:   New Content

Your brother already answered your question, my friend.

"What do you call people who can't even see through this scam?"

Brainwashed.

Submitted on Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017 at 7:03:51 PM

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Janet Supriano

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Reply to Kenneth Johnson:   New Content

Give the military a fenced-in 'Free Speech Zone.' Out in the parking lot.

Since the players and coaches aren't making any kind of noise, they can hold their bodies any way they choose.

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 28, 2017 at 12:02:45 AM

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Mark Skudlarek

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I'm not much of a professional sports watcher. Actually, I don't even have cable, or satellite TV anymore. I used to watch, but can't stomach the fluff, propaganda and sponsors.


I caught a piece of a college game (professional light) the other day, and saw a commercial for the Marine Corps. What a laugh! Started with an 11 (or so) year-old girl stopping a couple of bully girls from pushing around some other little girl. At the end of the commercial the 11 year-old had gone from protecting other children from bullies, to being a bought and paid for bully fighting for the USMC in some bombed out Middle Eastern town.

Submitted on Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017 at 7:16:57 PM

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Janet Supriano

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That commercial is so powerful and so sad. There should be a rebuttal. Film of neighbors helping neighbors in floods and earthquakes, with the message: 'You don't need to be a soldier to make a difference."

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 28, 2017 at 12:10:23 AM

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John Lawrence Ré

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Reply to Janet Supriano:   New Content
No, because the structure of your sentence suggests that soldiers make a psoitive difference.

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 28, 2017 at 2:32:57 AM

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Janet Supriano

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You're right. Needs work. :) "Forget the military. Make a positive difference!"

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 28, 2017 at 9:39:31 AM

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Kevin Chamberlin

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In Major League Baseball, the 7th inning stretch used to be just that; a chance to move about and get the blood moving. That was changed to standing up for another false exercise in super nationalism. I have not been to a game since then. I never will.

Submitted on Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017 at 9:06:40 PM

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Kenneth Johnson

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'Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks
I don't care if I never get back' (to the job I skipped out on for the Thursday afternoon game).

In San Diego:
The San Diego Chicken.
McNamara's Band.
Ozzie Smith.

Truly the good old days.

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 28, 2017 at 5:00:27 AM

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Rick Kincade

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Football more than basketball and both more than baseball, focus on "battles" on the field and the court. We want winners and all praise to them (even though most of the time it is the teams paying the most in salaries that win). But football is great for brainwashing the "with us or against us" attitude instead of recognizing all the levels and shades of gray in the real world. Football is the manly sport (favorite of manly military) that helps cement (third stage of brainwashing) the attitude that it is best to DEFEAT your enemies rather than to Understand or tolerate differences. ps Don't mean to exclude hockey with all their fights but there is so much more finesse to the game and it is headquartered in Canada where there is a lot less honcho posturing. Anybody know about hockey?

Submitted on Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017 at 9:28:19 PM

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Kenneth Johnson

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I'm a Kings' fan.

Also an Oilers fan (I wish there was some way we could attract quality players like Milan Lucic and Pat Maroon to Southern California).

And, I'll be following the Golden Knights (predicting a powerhouse in the works).

Oh, and the Maple Leafs I find especially interesting, since the 2016 draft and the following season.)

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 28, 2017 at 5:13:15 AM

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Carol R Campbell

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I clicked on News, only because this is something most USians know nothing about.

Talk about a 'New' McCarthy Era - That's when 'God' crept into the Pledge of Allegiance. I cannot remember when that Pledge was first written, but it was during some other historically passionate, patriotic furor.

Unlike Betsy Ross and the US Flag, it wasn't during the Revolutionary War, or the Constitutional Convention. I don't believe many of those guys were impressed with mandatory Oaths and Pledges. That is why we do not have to 'Swear' on a Bible in Court, or when an Oath of Office is required.!

Submitted on Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017 at 10:32:55 PM

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I'm agnostic. This means, I've spent my whole life searching, and...in the end, damned if I know. I'll find out when I'm dead ~~ or not. :) Just trying to learn Truth and live it.

That said, I would support god disappearing from all things national. Oaths, pledges, songs, documents, including and especially money. If we just add a single 'o' to the word God, we have Good. "In Good We Trust." I think this small change could have far reaching consequences given some time. To me, it connotes a sense of responsibility and motivation. To trust Good, good must be lived out. Time for us to give God a break from carrying the load and rely on our own higher selves.

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 28, 2017 at 12:00:34 AM

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"In Good We Trust."
So simple, powerful, and logical!
I will remember that.
My fondest hope is to see something like this occur!

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 28, 2017 at 5:35:04 AM

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Why make Trump the focus of this. I have not seen the polls but I m guessing more than half the fans have problems with players not standing for the national anthem Why must we make Trump responsible for what have been widespread defects of the public all along?

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 28, 2017 at 12:38:21 AM

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The players should be protesting the ILLEGAL wars which have killed and maimed the Military Personnel who thought they were legally protecting our country, but instead they were becoming War Criminals and creating enemies.

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 28, 2017 at 5:00:17 AM

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When you look at US sports from outside the country, the nationalism bleeding into militarism is obvious. Many countries don't play their national anthems during domestic sporting events, but only play them when they compete against another country (whose anthem is respectfully played too). Why don't Americans ask why they're playing their national anthem at domestic sporting events rather than who doesn't stand during the performance?

But it gets worse. The helmets of the NFL players all have a US flag on them. Why? Other uniforms often have a flag too. Why? Is there a risk that the players or fans will forget what country they're in?

And the last time I attended a pro game, the beer cans had a flag design on them. Hello? Must we drink beer wrapped in the flag too?

I had no idea that the Department of Offense was bankrolling some of the militaristic components of this, but it unfortunately is not surprising. These are the folks who invented modern advertising, then correctly called propaganda, during the First World War. And they're still at it.

But Americans are so bombarded with this hyper-nationalism bleeding into militarism that they don't even notice it.

IMO true patriots should notice and object to this cheapening and distortion of their national symbols. It's offensive, not patriotic.

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 28, 2017 at 6:03:57 AM

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Love your country, don't idolize it.

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 28, 2017 at 3:12:52 PM

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Kenneth Johnson

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Many people identify the 'Flag People' as those who are on their side.

'My Country, right or wrong.'

"If they want war, OK; they're our people, always on the right side."

'We're #1; Lead, follow, or get out of the way.'

"USA! USA! Get out of line and we'll kick your ass."

This is the result of having allowed them to capture, and cheapen, Our Flag for Corporate Use.

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 28, 2017 at 4:23:05 PM

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Kaepernick took a knee while Obama was in office. Trump had not been elected. Double standard for hypocrisy? What a set-up to divide the country!

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 28, 2017 at 2:17:50 PM

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