The Centers for Disease Control paid $3.5 million to the NFL Alumni Association in the hopes of promoting the coronavirus vaccine to those who continue to resist the jab.
The news was buried in a US Federal Procurement report, which showed the big money deal was inked in May, TMZ reported.
“The overall purpose of this contract is to facilitate collaboration among NFL Alumni and federal state and local public health officials as well as other local leaders to address vaccine hesitancy through communication and engagement with communities less likely to get vaccinated,” reads a Notice of Intent posted by the agency.
The group, a collection of former NFL players, was founded in 1967 and is currently led by Bart Oates, a former New York Giants lineman.
The cash is part of a feverish campaign by the federal government to stay ahead of the pandemic and the delta variant, which has caused spikes of infections in unvaccinated communities across the country.
President Biden warned Friday that tougher coronavirus restrictions would “in all probability” be returning.
Less than half of Americans are fully vaccinated according to the CDC. Top demographic holdouts are a mixed bag, which include both Republicans and rural residents, but also Black Americans and essential workers.