Fox NFL Sunday: Tribute -OR- Travesty?

Okay, so I’m writing this because I want to know that I’m not the only person who felt this idea was a TERRIBLE one. For those of you who missed it, Fox’s broadcast of NFL Sunday was live from Afghanistan yesterday. This, to me, is one of those things that sounds like a fabulous idea at first, but it’s just in poor taste.

For one, the commentators are out there in the middle of a war zone, although I’m quite sure not in the direct line of fire. It’s still not smart, in my humble opinion, to put up a television set in the middle of another country in the middle of an occupation. Or is it?

For 2, they were wearing official military garb. This is just distasteful. Each one was wearing a different branch, and each said they were “honoring” that particular branch with a short anecdote that explained their connection or affinity for that branch. Again, sounds like a good idea on the surface, but to me, this is a complete insult to those who sacrifice so much to have the priviledge to wear that uniform. Curt Menefee was wearing Coast Guard garb and actually said that he was honoring them because of their daily interaction with civilians and because he was a boat-owner who saw them patrolling often. WHAT?! Michael Strahan wore Navy garb because his father served in the Navy. So, let me get this straight: because you respect these people and value what they do on a daily basis, or because you know someone who serves or served in the Armed Forces, you get to wear THEIR uniform?! Shame on Fox. I’m sure there is a better, more appropriate way to honor these men and women. Haven’t you guys ever heard of a T-SHIRT?! Or a baseball cap!

For 3, the imagery of this broadcast was completely glamourizing the military and what it means to serve our country and a stark contrast to the fact that a WAR is raging outside the confines of the set on the airfield. It made me sick to my stomach to watch all those guys smiling and laughing and carrying on, minimalizing what is actually going on. I understand that the purpose is to boost the morale of our troops, but how about we bring them HOME to boost their morale instead of sending Fox over there for some handshakes and a few passes of the pigskin? And let’s be honest, folks, Fox is not only concerned about the well-being of our troops, but with its image and ratings as well…okay? And can you just IMAGINE if the situation were reversed? How would we feel if someone came into our country, started a war and then brought some sportscasters and celebrities over to just hang out and play football? Who do we think we are?! I think it’s important to remember that not everyone in Afghanistan is a member of the terror regime that we’re fighting against. There are real people, real faces, real souls that matter just as much as our own.

War is not glamourous, as this broadcast would like us to believe. War is ugly. And we need to remember that Afghanistan is not just a series of lines on a globe, but a real place where real people live and die; we should be mindful and respectful of them. And, finally, the people who should be wearing military garb are those who have earned the right and have made the sacrifices, not sports commentators. I’m sure we all value the sacrifices these true heroes make on a daily basis to serve so that WE don’t have to do so. However, you don’t see us walking around wearing military garb in “honor” of them. Instead, we fly our flags and wear yellow ribbons. These are appropriate ways to show that we care and that we value their sacrifice.