NFL Relents in Color Guard Flap

Service members will be allowed to remain in stadium for Super Bowl

By Josh Alper
|  Saturday, Jan 24, 2009  |  Updated 12:28 PM EDT
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The Odds of Super Bowl XLIII

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The presentation of colors at the Super Bowl comes with grievances.

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An email from the mother of a Marine to a web site called Thunder Run on Thursday touched off quite a little controversy. The woman complained that after performing his duties before the game, her son and the 11 other members of the Color Guard would be "escorted" out of the stadium and not permitted to watch the game.

Seems pretty outrageous, until you realize that members of the Color Guard have never stayed to watch the game in the stadium. Instead they, and the two thousand or so other performers who take part in pregame and halftime events, are invited to a party with big-screen televisions and free food and drink. There's no difference this year than any other year and no slap in the face intended to the participants.

It's hard to imagine that too many of the men and women who make the choice to wear a uniform in defense of the country do so with the expectation that they'll be given things for free in exchange. Certainly not things like tickets to the Super Bowl. All things considered, the chance to perform their duties at the game, promote the military and enjoy a free party on the grounds seem like a fair enough trade off.

Plenty of people disagreed with that idea, though, and, in the face of criticism, the NFL has changed their minds. The 12 members of the Color Guard will be inside the stadium for the game on February 1st. That's great, nobody could be more deserving of such gifts, than an active member of the military

It's a shame though that the final lesson of the whole mess is that if you sign up for something without the expectation of getting a reward and then complain loud enough and long enough, you'll wind up getting the reward anyway. Maybe it should have been different in the first place, but it wasn't and it's too bad that people can't be happy living with the deal they make for themselves.

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