In its latest effort to boost the number of new recruits, the National Guard has reportedly signed a $6 million deal to buy the naming rights of Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium. Under the plan the stadium would change its official name to National Guard Field at RFK. The Guard would also be granted advertising space inside and outside the stadium, along with other promotional opportunities.
Sports commentator Dave Zirin writes on Counterpunch: “[T]he Guard — the under-trained, under equipped, one-weekend-a-month-National Guard — is an astounding 40% of the boots on the ground in Iraq. The persistence of the Iraqi resistance and the ‘War on Terror’s’ expansionist agenda means the Pentagon needs more boots. This is why, according to Time Magazine, the Guard has hired 1,400 new recruiters. This is why, even though 25,000 soldiers are currently on food stamps, there is $6 million in the Pentagon Budget for stadium naming rights.
“This is also why RFK stadium of Southeast DC is a perfect locale for their new publicity push. Since September 11th, Armed Forces enlistment by African-American men has dropped by 47%. Southeast DC, with its decrepit high schools and spiraling unemployment makes for an ideal location. Presumably, even if they can’t afford tickets, they can come on by to sign up at the adjacent recruitment stands. It’s telling in fact that the only objections to this purchase, which could scuttle the deal, are from Sen. John Warner (R-VA) who thinks the purchase doesn’t do ENOUGH to raise the guards profile and increase recruitment.”