The NFL is returning more than $700,000 of taxpayers' money that was paid to teams for sponsored military tributes.
Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake complained that the Pentagon spent more than $10 million in marketing and advertising contracts with professional sports teams between 2012 and 2015 for what the senators said was "paid patriotism."
"In all the years I've spent trying to root out egregious federal spending, the NFL is the first organization to perform due diligence, take responsibility and return funds to the taxpayers," Flake said in a news release. "The NFL's response to this investigation sets a new standard and only strengthens its reputation as a supporter of military service members and veterans."
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said that the league would pay that money back. In a letter written to the Senate on Wednesday, Goodell said that teams were deemed to have received $723,734 for acts of sponsored patriotism.
Last year, Flake and McCain disclosed that the U.S. Department of Defense had spent $5.4 million in contracts with 14 NFL teams from 2011 to 2014.