The NFL rejected an ad from American Veterans (AMVETS) that asks fans to "please stand."
The NFL received a lot of backlash from their fans as well as the president of the United States during the 2017 season, while numerous players kneeled in protest during the playing of the National Anthem in order to protest injustices within the USA.
There is some belief that the league's television ratings have been sliding, partly due to the protests by the players.
Aside from the fans being upset, it looks like the NFL is also making veterans mad as well.
It turns out, AMVETS were trying to take out a one-page advertisement in this year's Super Bowl program that includes a message that reads "Please Stand," according to Sports Illustrated. But the NFL rejected the ad.
The ad included an American flag with a words #PleaseStand.
AMVETS national commander Marion Polk is now crying foul by claiming that the NFL is using "corporate censorship" and is not allowing military vets to use their freedom of speech in an effort to speak out against players who've protested during the anthem over the course of the season.
The problem for AMVETS is that the NFL denying them an opportunity to place an ad in a Super Bowl program doesn't violate their first amendment rights, given the fact that a sporting event is private since you need a ticket to enter. The NFL is also a private company.
AMVETS sent a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, pointing out that the National Hockey League allowed them to place their ads in the league's programs.
The NFL has released a statement on the matter.
"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.”
“We looked to work with the organization and asked it to consider other options such as ‘Please Honor our Veterans,’” McCarthy added. “They chose not to and we asked it to consider using ‘Please Stand for Our Veterans.’ Production was delayed as we awaited an answer. As the program was going to production, the organization asked about including a hashtag” — as in #PleaseStand — “and was informed that approval would not be provided in time and was asked to approve the ad without the hashtag. The organization did not respond and the program ultimately went into production to meet deadlines.”
The NFL pointed out that an ad from Veterans of Foreign Wars has been approved for their Super Bowl program and it reads "We Stand for Veterans."