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The Cost Of Lavish Patriotic Displays At Sports Games

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According to a report authored by Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona (both Republicans) the military paid out $53 million to sports teams to stage those patriotic displays you often see. This was covered in a local news story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on November 6, 2015.

The patriotic displays are designed with two functions in mind, to promote patriotism in general and to recruit for the military. While it is incorrect to say that players are paid to stand and show respect for the national anthem and the flag, according to the game operations manual:

“The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem. During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.”

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The displays, which are often lavish affairs, including military flyovers, are often paid-for activities, though we have no way of knowing which events are paid for or how much is paid for each event. Moreover, the $53 million price tag discovered in 2015, and reported before the year ended, likely included other costs to perform these events: such as pay for service members or fuel for aircraft doing flyovers, or other production costs.

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Collectively speaking, sports teams received over $53 million in 2015, however in 2016 the NFL actually returned fees it received for the ceremonies themselves, to the tune of $724,000. So, while direct fees were returned for the displays, other forms of paid advertising, on-site recruiting, use of space, and signage were not returned.

So, while there is a cost for these events, the NFL no longer gets paid to allow the event to take place. The production costs are born by the sponsor, but the time is freely given. The game operations manual prescribes a player protocol for the playing of the national anthem, a standard no longer enforced within the NFL.

The military continue, as far as we know, to pay the production costs for these events, despite the fact the NFL players themselves are no longer compelled to show respect for the event.

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Big League Economics

BACK TO WORK: Ford Motors Announces They Intend to Begin Reopening Plants on Apr. 6

Ford does not want to suspend production for months because of coronavirus.

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Ford Motor Co. announced on Thursday that they intend to begin reopening some of their plants on Apr. 6, as the iconic automaker hopes that the coronavirus pandemic will not sideline their business for long.

Ford said last week that they would be suspending all production at their facilities indefinitely. They made the decision along with General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles with union workers spooked because of potential exposure to the coronavirus.

While Ford wants to resume their operations as quickly as possible, their plans are not written in stone. They could re-evaluate their time frame if the coronavirus pandemic worsens over the next ten days.

“We will continue to assess public health conditions as well as supplier readiness and will adjust plans if necessary,” Kumar Galhotra, Ford’s president of North America, said in a statement.

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GM and Chrysler have not issued any possible schedule for resuming operations at the present time. If all goes according to plan, Ford will re-open the Hermosillo Assembly Plant on Apr. 6 for one shift. It would then open many more facilities across the country on Apr. 14.

The other corporate titans of Motor City may be skittish about reopening because of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s draconian restrictions on industry. Whitmer has issued an edict forcing all supposedly non-essential businesses to shutter until Apr. 13.

“The current trajectory we’re on seems a lot like Italy,” Whitmer said earlier this week. “We’ve got to do everything in our power to keep that from happening in Michigan.”

“This is an unprecedented crisis that requires all of us working together to protect our families and our communities,” she added. “The most effective way we can slow down the virus is to stay home. I know this will be hard, but it will be temporary. If we all come together, get serious, and do our part by staying home, we can stay safe and save lives.”

While public officials like Whitmer may have the best of intentions, their forced shut-down of the economy may cause more lasting damage to the country than the coronavirus ever could.

“The situation is fluid and can change week to week,” said Jim Cain, a spokesman for GM. “We don’t have firm return-to-work dates at this time.”

Americans are desperate to go back to work as the social safety net is strained like never before during these trying times. A dubious record was set for jobless claims filed in March, with three million Americans filing for unemployment benefits. President Trump hopes to have the country back on track by the Easter holiday.

“I think there are certain people that would like it not to open so quickly,” Trump said on Wednesday. “I think there are certain people that would like [the economy] to do financially poorly, because they think that would be very good as far as defeating me at the polls.”

He added: “I’m not going to do anything rash or hastily — I don’t do that. But the country wants to get back to work.”

It will not be easy for President Trump to pull the nation out of the grip of media-driven mass hysteria that has resulted from the coronavirus pandemic.

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