A perspective of the military appreciation efforts in the NFL

In Green Bay, fans put up cards to create this message.

As some of you know, I am a uniform geek and I frequent the UniWatch blog. Today’s entry had a very strong opinion about the NFL’s military appreciation efforts yesterday. I recommend you read it first before reading my thoughts on it.


After reading that, it struck me in a way that I had thought about before but never thought about seriously enough. Did the NFL push the envelope with all this propaganda for the military? Is it on the same level as the pink that went on last month for Breast Cancer Awareness?

Here are a few things about my opinion of war.

I don’t like war. I never did. War to me is something that can be avoided in all circumstances. Violence to me is a coward’s way out for something that can be solved in other fashions. Killing people to me just doesn’t need to happen.

With that tied in, I don’t like anything associated with war. However, when it does come to war, I appreciate the efforts of those who do serve to help protect us. I have friends who are serving and I understand the sacrifice they make. But I do wonder if the NFL is relaying that message. Or are they relaying something else to us?

As UniWatch writer Paul Lukas points out, there was a lot of camouflage going on in games yesterday and even to the point where cheerleaders were dressed in military outfits (poor taste). But are we glorifying the idea that war is OK and that every military personnel is a hero?

I think one of the things that I am always concerned about with this not only in football, but in all sports, is the league’s attempt to change things up for a cause.

We’ve seen before in the MLB that their old Stars and Stripes caps were made for sale to the public, but up until this past season, they never disclosed how much of the proceeds went to military causes. It was assumed that it was not a lot. This past year they said all proceeds went to the cause, which I hope is true.

Is it the same with the NFL? Last month a ton of pink merchandise was available for sale. How much of that went to breast cancer research? The league gives us the impression that all proceeds do go to research, but other reports suggest it’s much less. I would like to believe it’s 100 percent, but it doesn’t say. In most situations, it usually never is.

This brings me back to yesterday’s military appreciation efforts. Like I said, I want to thank all the people that are serving and protecting this country. But it just seems to me that we’re glorifying them essentially for something I don’t support.

It’s a hard thing to take in because in this day an age, camouflage has turned into a serious fashion thing (ironic, huh?) and it has gotten to the point where even though the intent is good, we’re marketing the military as the “cool thing” to do. But that’s not what the message should be. People have died from war.

Maybe I’m overanalyzing it and everything we saw yesterday had great intention and I am missing the point. But maybe we should take a step back and figure out if there is a better way to say “thank you” to those serving. Does it have to be a huge show like yesterday? I don’t know and I’m not sure.

All I do know that all the images I saw yesterday left an impression on me. I appreciate the military for protecting me, but I don’t think this is the best way to thank them. Or at least it didn’t have to be big and bold like yesterday.

2 thoughts on “A perspective of the military appreciation efforts in the NFL

  1. I don’t care who that Douche is on that other site, but I do like you. So to you I will respond. First – I am a proud US Marine Corps Vet, just to set the stage.

    As for the proceeds – yes I wish they were more up front and honest, but I really don’t expect them to be. And I personally give DIRECTLY to veteran charities (ones I know are good ones), so I don’t worry about things like this. If a cause is important to you, give to them directly – this whole BS of “OOO If you buy xxxxxx we’ll give a portion of the proceeds to xxxxxx charity” is really just a ploy to get you to buy more of their stuff and you to justify it to yourself because your “helping” a charity.

    Next, promoting war? No, I don’t see it that way. I can also say, that while I WISH it was true that war could be avoided every time – history proves otherwise. Don’t ask me to explain why some people only understand killing and force, because it makes no sense to me. I only know it’s reality.

    Can you explain to me why that person walked into that Colorado movie theater and starting shooting? Or about the little girl that was kidnapped, killed and dismembered by a 17 yr old boy? How about that teenager in Pakistan that the taliban tried to kill simply because she posted on web sites apposing them and saying that girls should be allowed to go to school?

    I would bet no, your mind (nor mine) works that way so it’s a completely foreign thought. Sadly these people exist, and sometimes they control armies. The vast majority of people are good, however some are truly “evil” and can turn some of those good people into evil acting people. They won’t sit down and talk to you, and even if they did it wouldn’t be in good faith. These people only know violence, and the only way to deal with them is to lock them up or kill them… and they won’t let you lock them up very easily so in some cases killing them is the only way.

    I don’t like that, and I don’t have a clue why people are like that, but it is reality. Just think if no one fought back against the Nazi’s? It might be an extreme case, but it is a real case.

    Supporting our troops, does not mean supporting war. I did everything I could for our troops while I did everything I could to help get them out of Iraq. Honestly, I’m still not sure I understand why we went there. Afghanistan, yea I get.

    And you want to know what in my opinion is the best ways to say thanks to me and everyone else that has served. Donate directly to causes that help veterans and even more so… Vote.

    • Thanks for your response. It’s hard to understand the minds of the people who do bad and we’ll never know because our brains haven’t been wired to think like them. I would like to think that there are better ways to stop violence and there are, but the quicker and sometimes swifter way is to retaliate with violence. I don’t see it as the right way, but it ends up being the “best” option.

      It just seems to me when leagues do these kinds of things, especially with the merchandise, it cheapens the actual efforts of the military and the people who sacrifice for us. You’re right that these merchandise help the consumer feel justified for buying the the new cap or shirt, but that’s all marketing and that may be the best way for the military charities to get more money.

      We wouldn’t be where we are without the military and because of that, I do owe them my thanks for keeping our country safe. Awareness and appreciation are much needed for them. Are events like yesterday necessary to do it? Not really. But it does bring it to light for those unaware, so in a sense, it’s a good thing. Unfortunately there is no right way to do it. At least in my opinion, we haven’t found the best way. I can live with what happened yesterday and see that the intent is good. But with the way it was presented to me, I feel the message gets lots somewhere there.

      You are right that there are other ways to help out, but unfortunately without it being brought to our attention via a medium we care about — the NFL — we might not even know about the other outlets.

      Thanks for your response. Very insightful and thank you for serving.

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