A veteran calls out ‘plastic patriotism’ as the Super Bowl draws near

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Wednesday, February 8, 2023 - 10:43am

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Super Bowl Sunday is nearly upon us here in Arizona, and the signs are everywhere — from tourists crowding the streets to the prices of hotels shooting through the roof. 

One thing we’ll most certainly see at the big game is a rousing show of patriotism. From military fly-overs and fireworks, to the national anthem and troops on the field — patriotism and the NFL have become synonymous. 

But Karen Gallagher says these events ring hollow for her — and many other veterans like her. 

Gallagher is a veteran, professor and former Pat Tillman scholar. She researched veterans and identity at Arizona State University's Global Sport Institute and now teaches at the University of Alaska.

She told The Show, while she loves her country and is proud of her service, the patriotic displays at big sporting events are nothing but what she calls “plastic patriotism.” 

Karen Gallagher
University of Alaska Anchorage
Karen Gallagher

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