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News Link • Entertainment: Sports

Veterans Speak Out Against The Militarization Of Sports

•, By Howard Bryant

Before 9/11, giant flags and flyovers were reserved for the Super Bowl. Today, they are commonplace. Even the players wear camouflage jerseys. The military is omnipresent. And it's by design.

The public accepts this as supporting the troops, but one group of individuals — the veterans themselves — is more skeptical. One voice stood out: William Astore's.

"They bring out a humongous flag," he says. "Military jets fly overhead, sometimes it's a B-2 stealth bomber, sometimes it's fighter jets."

Bill Astore is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who writes about the increased militarization of sports — and its perils — on Bracing Views, his personal blog, as well as the website Tom Dispatch.

"I think, at first, there's a sort of thrilling feeling," Astore says. "I'm like all the other fans: a big plane goes overhead — 'Wow!' That's kind of awe inspiring. But at the same time, to me, it's not something that I see should be flying over a sports stadium before a baseball game or a football game. You know, these are weapons of death. They may be required, but they certainly shouldn't be celebrated and applauded."

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