By Debbie Gregory.
The NFL rejected a one-page ad for the NFL’s Super Bowl program submitted by AMVETS with the message “Please Stand,” for being too political. According to AMVETS, the league is guilty of corporate censorship.
“The Super Bowl game program is designed for fans to commemorate and celebrate the game, players, teams and the Super Bowl,: said NFL Vice President of Communications Brian McCarthy. “It’s never been a place for advertising that could be considered by some as a political statement.”
AMVETS full-page ad pictured the American flag, saluting soldiers and the words “Please Stand,” referring to the movement of NFL players protesting racial inequality and injustice by kneeling during the performance of the National Anthem before the start of games.
“The Super Bowl game program is designed for fans to commemorate and celebrate the game, players, teams and the Super Bowl,” according to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy.
“The NFL has long supported the military and veterans and will again salute our servicemembers in the Super Bowl with memorable on-field moments that will be televised as part of the game,” said McCarthy.
McCarthy said a VFW ad for the Super Bowl program was submitted and later approved for a tagline that read: “We Stand for Veterans” with text describing benefits the organization offers. The league, which has editorial control over the content, gave AMVETS the opportunity to amend their ad, using phrases such as “Please Honor Our Veterans” or “Please Stand for Our Veterans.”
AMVETS national commander, Marion Polk, wrote to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, saying: “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. But imposing corporate censorship to deny that same right to those veterans who have secured it for us all is reprehensible and totally beyond the pale.”