The NFL rejected an advert from a veterans group that wished to publish in its Tremendous Bowl program.
The total web page advert from AMVETS would have featured a army honor guard holding an American flag and the textual content #PleaseStand on the high of the web page. After many NFL gamers selected to kneel in protest throughout the singing of the Nationwide Anthem earlier than soccer video games, the advert referred to as on gamers to face. It additionally solicited donations.
The NFL mentioned it rejected the advert as a result of it made a “political assertion.”
“The Tremendous Bowl program is designed for followers to commemorate and have fun the sport, gamers, groups, and the Tremendous Bowl,” mentioned NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy within the assertion. “It has by no means been a spot for promoting that could possibly be thought-about by some as a political assertion.”
In a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell dated January 22, AMVETS Nationwide Commander Marion Polk mentioned that “freedom of speech works each methods.”
“We respect the rights of those that select to protest, as these rights are exactly what our members have fought — and in lots of instances died — for,” Polk wrote. “However imposing company censorship to disclaim the identical rights to these veterans who’ve have secured it for us all is reprehensible and completely past the pale.”
AMVETS was based in 1944 for veterans of World Struggle II. It lobbies on behalf of its greater than 250,000 members and gives companies to veterans.
The league tried to assist the group create a suitable advert.
“We appeared to work with the group and requested it to contemplate different choices corresponding to ‘Please Honor our Veterans’. They selected to not and we requested it to think about using ‘Please Stand for Our Veterans,'” McCarthy mentioned.
The league and the group proposed quite a lot of doable variations of the advert, however they could not agree, in keeping with McCarthy. This system ultimately went to print with out a last model of the advert prepared.
The NFL doesn’t promote the promoting for the sport itself. A 3rd-party sells the adverts and the league approves the content material.
The protest started final season when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt throughout the Nationwide Anthem to protest mistreatment of black Individuals, notably by police. Though Kaepernick didn’t play this season, different gamers adopted his lead and started kneeling this yr.
The controversy reached a flashpoint in September when President Donald Trump mentioned the NFL ought to fireplace any participant who kneels.