The Cleveland Browns were the recipients of thousands of dollars from the U.S. military, according to reports.
The Browns received more than $20,000 from a practice being called into question by Congress, according to documents obtained by nj.com.
It’s known as “pay for patriotism” and includes promoting military members at sporting events.
Examples of the practice include soldier salutes featured on jumbotrons and honoring troops during half-time.
According to nj.com, the Browns received the following “pay for patriotism” contracts from the U.S. Air Force:
- $12,500 on September 27, 2011
- $10,000 on September 12, 2012
The contract for September 12, 2012, would be the same week former first-round draft pick Brandon Weeden was swept under an American flag during a pregame warm-up.
It should be noted that during the reported contracts, the Browns were owned by Randy Lerner.
Jimmy Haslam completed the purchase of the Browns in October of 2012.
newsnet5.com reached out to the Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Cavaliers and Cleveland Indians for comment on this story.
Only the Cavaliers responded and stated they have “no paid promotions like this” and went on to say they do honor the U.S. Military and veterans during games, “but those are not paid promotions.”
In a 2012 Los Angeles Times report, it projected the military would spend $80 million that year on sponsoring sporting events.
nj.com reports the Defense Department paid 14 NFL teams $5.4 million over a four-year span, with the Browns among them.
Legislation that would ban the practice is awaiting final approval from the House and Senate.
The Department of Defense argues the practice is a valuable recruiting tool for the military, and the NFL said nj.com's reporting painted them in a poor light.
An NFL spokesperson told nj.com:
The NFL has had a long and charitable relationship with our military that we are excited to continue with this year's Salute to Service campaign this fall. We agree that no one should be paid to honor our troops, and the league and its 32 clubs are fully committed to that. Military spending on recruiting efforts should not be confused with community programs.
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