The NFL has stepped in it, again.
With the Super Bowl less than two weeks away, the NFL has a new controversy on its hands after rejecting an ad from a veterans group for the Super Bowl program. The ad, which shows soldiers holding an American flag and was made by the group AMVETS, includes the text "#PleaseStand," a clear reference to the kneeling protests that swept the league last year.
For the NFL, that was a problem. Spokesman Brian McCarthy told USA Today that the program is not "a place for advertising that could be considered by some as a political statement." He added that the NFL has long supported the military and will again at Super Bowl LII "with memorable on-field moments that will be televised as part of the game."
McCarthy said the league tried to work with AMVETS to change the language, but could not settle on an agreeable phrase. He said the phrases "Please Honor our Veterans" and "Please Stand for our Veterans" were offered as replacements, but the organization didn't respond in time and the program had to be printed.
Representatives of AMVETS are pissed. “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," national commander Marion Polk wrote in a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. "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.”
In a comment to The Daily Caller, AMVETS national communications director John Hoellwarth said, “AMVETS believes people should stand for the National Anthem,” Hoellwarth stated. “We don’t insist that they must, and we don’t vilify them if they don’t. It’s their choice. But we’d like to politely ask them to ‘please’ choose standing, and that’s all this ad does.”
The NFL already had trouble with those angry the league refused to shut down protests during the anthem. And some have declared their intention to boycott the Super Bowl because NBC said it would show any protests that took place before the game. Unsurprisingly, they're all pissed once again.