NFL Rejects Veterans Groups’ ‘Please Stand’ Super Bowl Program Ad

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NEW YORK — 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.


  • Bluto

    breaking news Roger Goodell and the NFL have admitted to rigging games for the super bowl. See video of ref congratulating tom brady aftwr last weeks game. NFL is crooked!

  • el ma

    I haven’t had anything to do with the NFL since the one fellow wanted to protest while on the payroll clock. On his own time, he is guaranteed the Right to speak out about whatever he wants to. On the clock and making more millions than anyone in his former ‘hood (including his adoptive parents), it’s obscene.

    Funny how it’s acceptable to allow an ongoing disrespectful protest to endure and, yet, a PAYING advertiser is shown the door. I try to wrap my head around the fact that the NFL players were being paid to protest, and it was encouraged. AMVETS wants to pay money to advertise, and it’s thrown out. Doesn’t make sense. Money out for protesters. No money in to PAY said protesters. Crazy.

  • Robert

    Those MILITARY jets flying over during the NATIONAL ANTHEM is not a political statement? Interesting, I didn’t know that.

    • Lloyd Schmucatelli

      It’s tradition.
      (Even though I hate football)

      Wow. There are some idiots wasting my oxygen these days.

    • Make Me Safe

      if i had any say in the matter, i would encourage every single former and current military personnel to refuse to present the colors or to be involved in this farce, ever again. it’s one thing to protest on my own time, but i cannot imagine gathering together with my coworkers in the paint aisle to kneel while we protest the injustices of preferential treatment of muslims. we’d all be out on our ears without a positive reference or good work history.

  • He Said What?

    Has never been a place for advertising that could be considered by some as a political statement? Whaaaaaa?
    So taking a knee during the National Anthem is not a political statement? WOW! Pants on fire!

  • Archibald Bunker

    These “kneelers” are nothing more than overpaid jocks with an exaggerated sense of self importance. They have to hire someone to show them how to sign their checks.

    • E

      Ha ha ha! That is EXACTLY how the jocks in your white trash slum behave, except for the overpaid part. Lol. Exaggerated sense of self importance, yes you just described every failed, high school, wanna be pro athlete in NEPA. Ha ha ha!

  • Jeff Woehrle

    So, a potential sponsor can’t make a ‘political statement,’ but the NFL hasn’t the ballz to prevent the players from doing the same?

    What a joke.

  • Jd

    Does anyone ever think of 9-11 anymore? How the people in this country came together? Remember the Budweiser horses kneeling in honor of the fallen? The flag pictures on the internet that said “These colors don’t run” and the eagle with a tear in it’s eye? What has happened to people’s souls? I want my country back!

  • Cowboy

    What happened to the National Anthem in our schools? I blame the democrats, clintons and last and not less obamas for trying to rip the country in half and by doing so fill their pockets with bribe money for other countries. America First People.

      • Bluto

        Wrong. It wasnt a nazi front. It wanted Americans to stay out of another war everyone saw coming . True Charles Lindbergh was a prominent member and was decorated by Nazis. But it wasn’t the bund. And it had disbanded when America was attacked. So read your history correctly not the cliff notes

  • Cowboy

    I am a Vietnam Vet, I stand for National Anthem because I love this country. If you don’t respect our flag and what it stands for, PLEASE leave this Great Country. Just like the people in the make-believe world of Hollywood {I will leave the United States of America if TRUMP get to be President}. The actors and actresses that said that are still here, WHY? Don’t burn or thread on my flag or country you over paid ACTORS! Piss OFF! Get OUT!

  • Taco Bill

    There are more similarities than differences between Nazi Germany & trump america. Demanding patriotism is one of the more disturbing similarities. The people TRULY disrespecting the flag & EVERYone serving in or having served in the military are those saying people must stand for the national anthem. These people, the ones bad mouthing the peaceful protesters should take a stand against fellow Americans who display the traitorous flag of the confederate south. Every time I see the stars & bars I am sickened. Now we HAVE to stand for the anthem. NO! We choose to stand. Or not. God bless America. We need it now more than ever. #resist

  • Jimmyc

    I am completely done watching NFL football their overpaid and disrespectful to our country! For ever done!! I hope they go under!!

      • coach

        why is it ok to advertise BEER and such and what is wrong with the NFL, its supposed to be an American game am I right ???

      • Cowboy

        Supposed to be an American game but when you have big money in there to grab, it becomes
        Political and big money companies also. Look at the money the players make and owners. No more smoking commercials because of politics but they have booze commercials and drink there at the games. Think more people die from cirrhosis of liver then smoking. It’s all about MONEY anymore

  • Lance

    Totally disgusting. How come is ok for players to disrespect the flag and calling it free speech but vets cant place and ad asking the players to stand? The NFL has sunk to a new low. I refuse to watch the super bowl this year. Every vet and American should boycott the game!

  • 1st Amendment, baby!

    Now THAT’S funny. Sucks having someone else tell you what you can and can’t say, doesn’t it? Veterans protect our right to stand, sit, squat, or whatever. #DealWithIt

  • Terry Ross

    By asking them to play that ad they are belittling the cause that they are kneeling for. They are choosing to kneel for a reason, they are not protesting the flag. When people stage a protest march at a college they are not protesting college. I don’t blame them for not running the ad.

  • Terry Ross

    By asking them to play that ad they are belittling the cause that they are kneeling for. They are choosing to kneel for a reason, they are not protesting the flag. When people stage a protest march at a college they are not protesting college. I don’t blame them for not running the ad.

  • Will

    They can reject add because it’s a political statement but isn’t that exactly what the players are doing. I haven’t watched a game all season anyway so it won’t bother me.

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