Updated: Jan 31
The National Football League has rejected a Super Bowl advertisement from American Veterans urging people to stand for the national anthem.
The nation's largest veterans service organization had been invited by the NFL to place an ad in the Super Bowl LII program. AMVET's advertisement included a two-word message - "#PleaseStand."
"It's a simple, polite request that represents the sentiment of our membership, particularly those whose missing or paralyzed limbs preclude standing," wrote National Commander Marion Polk in a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
American Veterans accused the NFL of outright censorship by rejecting the advertisement.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy defended the league's decision to ban the American Veterans' advertisement noting that the game day program "is designed for fans to commemorate and celebrate the game, players, teams and the Super Bowl."
"It's never been a place for advertising that could be considered by some as a political statement," McCarthy told Army Times.
So, the NFL believes that politely asking people to stand for the Star-Spangled Banner is akin to making a political statement?
The NFL has been rocked by national anthem protests throughout the season -- leading to a massive decline in television viewership and game day attendance. Still, the NFL and most team owners refused to order players to stand for the national anthem.
Instead, the commissioner and many owners shamefully turned a blind eye as football players took a knee and disrespected not only the flag, but the brave men and women defending our freedom.
Perhaps the Goodell was concerned that a “political statement” in the game day program might take away from the “political statements” being made on the football field when players take a knee.
"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 that same right to those veterans who have secured it for us all is reprehensible and totally beyond the pale."
McCarthy told Army Times they gave American Veterans the option of changing their proposed advertisement to read, "Please Stand for our Veterans." But the NFL said they never heard back from the group.
It's becoming increasingly clear that the NFL's disdain for American patriotism is not just isolated to the gridiron. It's apparently infested the front office.
"Veterans are good for more than just military aircraft flyovers, photo opportunities during halftime, or props to sell camouflage-style NFL apparel; although, the NFL's stance on not allowing the veterans' unfiltered voice to be heard says otherwise," Polk wrote to Goodell.
I wholeheartedly concur and might I suggest that freedom-loving Americans stand up to the National Football League by turning off the Super Bowl.