The Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers and Dallas Mavericks were among hundreds of pro sports teams nationwide and eight teams in Texas that have been paid in recent years by the Defense Department to honor military personnel or provide perks for them at games, according to a report in The Dallas Morning News.
Republican Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake issued an oversight report called Tackling Paid Patriotism that details $6.8 million in payments to pro sports teams between 2012 and 2014. And this week they are urging the teams to return the money to U.S. taxpayers.
The Cowboys were paid the most of all the Texas teams: $265,000 between 2012 and 2014. That amount covered everything from tickets to lettermen jackets to a color guard ceremony. The Rangers received $75,000 for contracts that included performances of the national anthem, tickets, and even batting practice. The Mavericks got $55,000 for a variety of ceremonies and tickets, according to the report.
Most of the $6.8 million detailed in the senators’ report went to NFL teams. Commissioner Roger Goodell said the NFL will conduct an audit of all contracts, and “if we find that inappropriate payments were made, they will be refunded in full.”
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The individual teams did not comment on the report.
The NFL has since instituted a ban on such deals.