Defense Secretary Hagel to review Pentagon NFL ties
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has asked for a Pentagon review of the military's involvement in the National Football League. The review comes in the wake of several domestic violence complaints against NFL players.
The connection between the NFL and the military goes back decades, and the connections are considerable.
The Army alone spends some $10 million a year buying advertising from television networks broadcasting NFL games. Games are also broadcast by the Armed Forces Network to troops deployed overseas.
Military support for the NFL games includes: providing ceremonial units at games for colors ceremonies; military personnel singing the national anthem, and other units providing drill teams or flyovers. Military personnel, including wounded warriors, often appear at NFL events honoring those who serve.
The Army and the NFL also have a agreement to share information and resources to better understand traumatic brain injury, which is a major medical issue both for wounded troops and football players. They are working together on awareness of TBI as well as research into treatment. The military has been sharing some of the lessons learned on TBI from the last 13 years of war, specifically.
Another program, NFL Play 60, has seen players visit military bases to encourage children to be more active as least 60 minutes a day to help prevent childhood obesity.
It is clear the White House is also closely monitoring the NFL controversy, with one senior administration official calling recent abuse allegations "deeply troubling" and stressing the league's obligation to "(get) control of the situation."
"Many of these professional athletes are marketed as role models to young people," the official said. "So their behavior does have the potential to influence these young people. So that's one of the many reasons it's important the league gets a handle on this and have zero tolerance."
The White House has seized upon the issue of domestic violence and is trying to nationalize it to promote their "war on women" theme. While they haven't tried to tie football fandom to Republicans - yet - the notion that most fans are men makes the NFL a convenient whipping boy for women's groups to attack.
Domestic violence is not a federal issue. But by making high-profile "reviews" like the one at the Pentagon, the White House stokes the fire of controversy and profits by the conflagration.