Statement from Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten on the relationship between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the U.S. Military:
The recent story regarding the financial connection between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the U.S. Military mischaracterizes the Steelers' relationship with the Armed Forces.
The U.S. Military went to an all-volunteer army in 1973. Since that time, the U.S. Armed Services have spent millions of dollars to attract a sufficient number of recruits to sign up annually in order to meet the needs of maintaining a strong military. Like many other advertisers desiring to get their message to large audiences, the military has advertised with the Steelers, as well as other sports leagues and teams as part of its recruiting programs.
The military is not alone in its decision to advertise with entities that effectively deliver its message to large numbers of its target audience. In fact, the military's spending with the Steelers is relatively small in comparison to other advertisers in sports media.
The advertising and promotion the military does with the Steelers to advance its recruiting efforts has no connection to the programs the Steelers have that provide an opportunity for our fans to salute our military veterans and active service members. Our Veterans Day programs, as well as our players' visits to military hospitals and wounded veterans, are well received by the military and are appreciated by our fans.
Connecting what the military spends on its recruiting efforts to the Steelers' various programs recognizing our Veterans is a clear misrepresentation, and we believe the real story needs to be told.