The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

NFL Anthem Ceremonies—“Paid Patriotism”

Oct 2, 2017

People like Trump and others who criticize NFL players refusing to stand for the national anthem act as though the players are disrespecting some long time-honored tradition. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said in 2016, “Until 2009, no NFL player stood for the national anthem because players actually stayed in the locker room as the anthem played. The players were moved to the field during the national anthem because it was seen as a marketing strategy to make the athletes look more patriotic.”

A 2015 report by Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake spoke out against taxpayer money being used for this kind of “paid patriotism.”

According to their report, the Department of Defense paid the NFL more than 12 million dollars from 2011 to 2015 and 53 million dollars from 2012 to 2015 to pro football, baseball, basketball, hockey, and soccer leagues for “paid tributes” like on-field color guards and full-field flag details.

In other words, what NFL players are accused of “disrespecting” is simply a high-priced effort to recruit young people to volunteer for the American war effort.