The National Guard has a problem. In 2014, it had a $100 million budget shortfall, leaving them to difficulty identify where it would draw funds from to pay for soldiers and their training. Simultaneously, a scandal broke out identifying that, between 2012 and 2014, the National Guard was paying 22 National Football League teams more than $7 million in marketing expenses. What were they marketing? Showing honor towards service members.
It seems inconceivable, but there it is. The National Guard was paying a rich organization to show respect and honor towards troops. This was not nearly an isolated case though. In the same year, they cut ties with sponsorship of race car drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Graham Rahal. The realized savings from ceasing their sponsorships: a combined $42 million in marketing expenditures.
One would hope that these large amounts of money would show a significant rate of return for the National Guard. The Guard provided documentation dating back to 2012 showing that, as far as the Nascar and Indy racing marketing plan, it provided 24,800 potential individuals for recruitment, with 20 of them meeting the qualifications for service and none of them joining.
When asked to explain the rationale behind the process, Major General Lyons, the acting Director at the time, stated that there was never any analysis performed to determine the effectiveness of the program. These expenses compare to the other branches. The Coast Guard spent $9.5 million on 350 potential candidates, the Marine Corps and the Army stopped their programs after identifying that they could not clearly articulate the effectiveness of the program.
In the 2015 Defense Appropriations bill, the recruiting and advertising budget was specifically identified as showing unjustified program growth. This just goes to show how quickly political aspects changed for this process. So, after years of wasteful spending on programs without returns, the government is ready to fix its ailing process – by pressuring the NFL to give the money back.
Interestingly, within the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, the Senate has added the wording to chastise the NFL’s willingness to receive payment to honor service members and donate that amount to charity.
It should go without saying that honoring a nation’s service members is an important element to a society. It shows solidarity, respect, an honest and earnest level of thanks and appreciation for the sacrifices inherent in their service. At the same time, just because the National Guard’s marketing campaign was inept in their practices, does it justify demanding the money back? It would seem that any actions by the NFL, Nascar, Indy, or any of the other companies that the National Guard has invested money into for marketing, can only be taken honestly if they are performed without threat.
Demanding that an organization donate the money to charity in order to make amends simply means that the organization responds to threats, instead of the right reasons to donate to charity – out of kindness and sincere desire to help.
While I am 100% supportive of the NFL returning the money to the government, I believe that they should recognize this obvious aspect and provide the money free of demands or threats. To do any less would undermine the value of performing the action.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.