U.S. troops deployed worldwide won't get to watch their favorite pro sports teams while the government is closed for business.
The American Forces Network will not broadcast Major League Baseball playoff games or this weekend's NFL games during the government shutdown, according to its Facebook page
"We determined we do not have a sound policy or legal basis to air the sports channels at this time because it is not deemed critical to … military operations and activities," the post reads. "In essence, we think we should walk a careful line on not providing any programs beyond the news/information realm, which can be clearly tied to direct support of force protection, situational awareness and readiness."
The decision drew angry response from AFN Facebook and Twitter followers:
"We can read the news online, sports is more of a moral lifter, especially for the troops deployed."
"I made due with all the cruddy commercials you play. Now you take away my football on the weekends."
"I find this appalling. What a slap in the face to morale to these guys who cling to things like this to feel connected to back home."
AFN responded on Facebook, saying it will continue to monitor the situation. "We'll have to see where each day takes us with this and what we're able to provide."
Saturday's nearly-cancelled football game between Navy and the Air Force Academy will be broadcast on the Armed Forces Network.
Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk convinced the DOD that the game should be played because it was being funded by non-appropriated money. His effort paid off when late Wednesday night when the DOD relented. A sellout crowd is expected.
Army will play its game, too. Boston College said on its website that Saturday's game against the service academy will proceed.
"I'm thrilled our students and those from the service academies will get to play their games this weekend," athletic director Brad Bates said. "Thank you, fans, for your patience and understanding the past couple of days."
While football is on this weekend, all other varsity and club sports at service academies are suspended because of the government shutdown.
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