The Baltimore Ravens say they were never paid to honor the military as part of their contracts with the government.
The Ravens received $884,500 from the Department of Defense from 2011-13, according to a United States Government website. The contract information lists the spending on display and advertising.
"We don't discuss contracts we have with sponsors and suite holders," said Kevin Byrne, the Ravens' senior vice president of public and community relations. "I can tell you our agreement with the Maryland National Guard, there's no mentioning of honoring soldiers."
The website NJ.com reported Monday that the government paid $5.4 million to 14 NFL teams, who have used some of the money to pay for costs associated with holding patriotic ceremonies and providing perks to military personnel attending the games. According to contract documents, the Ravens were paid by the Department of Defense for three fiscal years: $265,000 in 2011, $335,000 in 2012 and $284,500 in 2013.
Part of the advertising with the Ravens included a Maryland National Guard patch on their practice uniforms.
The Ravens have a long-standing relationship with the armed forces, especially in John Harbaugh's seven seasons as head coach. He took part in the annual NFL-USO coaches' tour of the Middle East in 2009 and has been honored twice for his commitment to the military, winning the U.S. Army's Outstanding Civilian Service award in 2012 and the NFL's Salute to Service award in 2013.
Since Harbaugh established Military Appreciation Day in 2008, an estimated 8,000 service members attended training camp, where they've met with coaches and players. Harbaugh also regularly invites wounded warriors to be his guests at Ravens home games.