Seattle Sounders listed in Paid Patriotism Scandal

Paid Patriotism

August 2, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; A parachuter carries the American flag before the match between the San Jose Earthquakes and the Seattle Sounders FC at Levi

Along with a swathe of other professional sports teams across the country, the Seattle Sounders have been named in the Paid Patriotism Scandal.

Sens. John Flake and John McCain have recently published damning evidence that the Pentagon has paid sports teams to the cumulative sum of $6.8 million for patriotic displays during sporting events.

You can read more about the scandal in general all over the internet, Bleacher Report and indeed all major sports outlets are covering it in detail. At Sounders Nation we are focussing on the Sounders.

Page 71 of the report highlights the Sounders involvement in Paid Patriotism. Specifically, they are stated to have received a total of $128,000.

However, although the waters are still murky, it appears they are not particularly “bad” culprits of Paid Patriotism. Indeed Flake and McCain’s investigation states it has no real issue with the conduct of the Sounders.


So what did the Sounders do? They sold advertising time to the Washington State Army National Guard on Sounders Vision during game days.

Perhaps many will consider the act of selling and indeed profiting from this is a touch unethical, but the Paid Patriotism report doesn’t really touch on this. In fact, it lists some of the Sounders activity as legitimate advertising and marketing:

“…some of what was contracted appears to be legitimate marketing and advertising activities”
for which we would expect DOD to compensate these teams”.

Some of the findings in the Paid Patriotism investigation are a lot darker, including the team the Sounders share a field with – the Seattle Seahawks. These teams accepted money to host things such as Military Appreciation Night as well as other things.

Paid Patriotism

Sep 27, 2015; Kansas City, KS, USA; A United States Army color guard present the National Colors during the National Anthem prior to the game between Sporting KC and the Seattle Sounders FC at Sporting Park. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

It appears that the Paid Patriotism investigation is one that evokes many moral and ethical debates. Everybody will have a different judgement on each teams activities.

Thankfully, the Sounders although named, were only found to have accepted money for what appears to be legitimate advertising and marketing campaigns. We will leave it for you to decide if this is acceptable or not.