The NFL rejected a Super Bowl program ad from a veterans group

(CNN Money) — The NFL rejected an ad from a veterans group that wanted to publish in its Super Bowl program.

The full page ad from AMVETS would have featured a military honor guard holding an American flag and the text #PleaseStand at the top of the page. After many NFL players chose to kneel in protest during the singing of the National Anthem before football games, the ad called on players to stand. It also solicited donations.

The NFL said it rejected the ad because it made a “political statement.”

“The Super Bowl program is designed for fans to commemorate and celebrate the game, players, teams, and the Super Bowl,” said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy in the statement. “It has never been a place for advertising that could be considered by some as a political statement.”

In a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell dated January 22, AMVETS National Commander Marion Polk said that “freedom of speech works both ways.”

“We respect the rights of those who choose to protest, as these rights are precisely what our members have fought — and in many cases died — for,” Polk wrote. “But imposing corporate censorship to deny the same rights to those veterans who have have secured it for us all is reprehensible and totally beyond the pale.”

AMVETS was founded in 1944 for veterans of World War II. It lobbies on behalf of its more than 250,000 members and provides services to veterans.

The league tried to help the group create an acceptable ad.

“We looked to work with the organization and asked it to consider other options such as ‘Please Honor our Veterans’. They chose not to and we asked it to consider using ‘Please Stand for Our Veterans,'” McCarthy said.

The league and the group proposed a number of possible versions of the ad, but they couldn’t agree, according to McCarthy. The program eventually went to print without a final version of the ad ready.

The NFL does not sell the advertising for the game itself. A third-party sells the ads and the league approves the content.

The protest began last season when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during the National Anthem to protest mistreatment of black Americans, particularly by police. Although Kaepernick did not play this season, other players followed his lead and began kneeling this year.

The controversy reached a flashpoint in September when President Donald Trump said the NFL should fire any player who kneels.


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  • Old Bob

    The NFl needs to say good by to any players who don’t stand for the National Anthem. The players who take a knee won’t be missed at all, there are always more players to take their place. The only players I have seen take a knee are the want to be’s anyway.

  • Clucko

    And the morons at the NFL wonder why they’re losing viewers? Keep it up, jerks. Pretty soon the only people that will be watching are those with a similar mindset/

  • Michael

    All season long the NFL protected the people kneeling stating they had the right to freedom of speech. (Although they actually don’t while on their employers dime)

    Now that the other side wants to chime in the NFL blocks the ad because it’s political in nature?


  • Michael

    You, more than anyone, should appreciate the rights you have because of veterans.

    With your ignorant views and hate speech you’d already be dead in most other countries. You aren’t because of our veterans.