The NFL has rejected a one-page advertisement for the Super Bowl program from the American Veterans (AMVETS) organization that included the message “Please Stand,” reports Sports Illustrated. The ad had an American flag with an accompanying message of #PleaseStand. AMVETS national commander Marion Polk called the decision to not publish the ad “corporate censorship” and that it denies veterans the right to freedom of speech. The ad is taking a stand against the players who have protested during the national anthem by kneeling or sitting before NFL games throughout the season.
— Marion Polk (@AMVETSNatlCmdr) January 22, 2018
AMVETS wrote a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and noted that the NHL has allowed the ad to run in their respective programs.
“The Super Bowl game program is designed for fans to commemorate and celebrate the game, players, teams and the Super Bowl,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told USA Today. “It’s never been a place for advertising that could be considered by some as a political statement. The NFL has long supported the military and veterans and will again salute our service members in the Super Bowl with memorable on-field moments that will be televised as part of the game.”
Ads for the programs are not sold through the NFL, but with a third-party publisher, and then the NFL has final say on approving what goes into the program. McCarthy noted that an ad from the Veterans of Foreign Wars was approved and it read “We Stand for Veterans.”