According to WTSP colleague Andre Senior (via The Shadow of the Stadium blog), the Tampa Bay Rays are getting a $160,000 Florida Department of Agriculture contract to promote children’s nutrition locally:
The team would use professional baseball talent, the team mascot and other representatives to help promote food nutrition and wellness among children and families within the Bay Area.
But the Rays team is not the only one getting a healthy dose of government cash from the state organization, which exists on tax dollars.
…Miami Dolphins Limited was paid $135,724.60 for its partnership in the “Eat to Compete” initiative to promote food, nutrition and wellness, while the Miami Heat was offered $129,999 for similar services.
According to document, the Jacksonville Jaguars received $133,917 for contributions to a similar partnership.
But couldn’t the Ag department just give the money to local schools instead of private business?
A Florida Department of Agriculture spokesperson told 10 News that they have a budget of $10 million to spend on educating children to eat better, and what is being spent now to hire sport celebrities to spread the message is only a fraction.
And- while a half million dollars is a lot of money to use, not everyone thinks it’s a bad thing.
“With the way kids eat nowadays; they got too much junk food, the vending machines in the schools- I definitely think are wrong,” said St. Petersburg resident Jeff Gbur.