Monday, November 5, 2012

2012's "Salute to Service" Event, Part 1

We have the first pictures from yesterday's "Salute to Service" event, giving us a look at the NFL's digital-camouflage-draped tribute to our military members past and present.

There were logos aplenty throughout the stadium, a missing-man formation flyover by Navy F/A-18 jets, and a special tribute to the 157th Wisconsin National Guard unit that just returned home from a tour of duty in Kosovo.

There were, of course, uniform elements to this event as well. Although the Packers didn't wear captain patches, the visiting Cardinals do, and those were the same digi-camo as the ubiquitous logo.

The Packers did, however, make two alterations to their helmets for the event. Here's punter Tim Masthay modeling a very cluttered helmet the digi-camo ribbon and service decals, in his case the Navy:

Jim Biever, Packers.com
Incidentally, that's not only another example of the faux-bumper decal common to some helmet styles but the best look I've seen yet of the new player ID label. I hadn't realized that the football-shape also included laces. Nice touch.

Coach Mike McCarthy wore an honest-to-goodness digi-camo ribbon on his cap.

Jim Biever, Packers.com
As promised, the ribbon logo was liberally sprinkled throughout the stadium, including on the field of play.

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE
Jim Biever, Packers.com
Jarrett Bush wore a Coast Guard decal on his helmet:

Jim Biever, Packers.com
Safety Morgan Burnett and linebacker Brad Jones wore the Marine and Air Force versions, respectively.

AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps
I wonder if players were given any choice in the decal selection, or if they were distributed at random?

My feelings about this event are much more conflicted than about the pink-out swindle, largely because the NFL hasn't tried to monetize the fans' good feelings in the same way. The league isn't selling digi-camo merchandise (yet), so there's no otherwise-reputable charity set up as a front, receiving any pennies on the dollar raised.

This showy, over-the-top celebration still seems unseemly to me. Singling out certain of our society's heroes for so much public adulation requires ignoring others, leading either to unequal treatment or to a further watering-down of our appreciation through overuse as they lobby for similar attention.

The whole exercise also smacks of exploitation from a multi-billion dollar industry eager to wrap itself in the flag, which was brought home when the Cardinals dug out their Pat Tillman memorial helmet decals from 2004.

Todd Rosenberg/NFL
Paul Lukas described his reaction on Uni Watch:
By far the most interesting move on the field yesterday was made by the Cardinals, who chose to appreciate the military by wearing "40" helmet decals — Pat Tillman’s old number. Of course, the military lied about the circumstances of Tillman's death in an attempt to create a fraudulent propaganda narrative. In other words, they exploited his status as an athlete to promote their own agenda. Now the NFL is exploiting his status as a solider to promote the league's agenda. Nice now everything comes full-circle, eh?
I find it very hard to disagree. Eisenhower was right.

One more week of this (two for the rest of the NFL, since the Packers get their bye next weekend), and we'll be on to the next event.

1 comment:

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