By Chrissy Clark | The Daily Signal
The NFL has rejected a Super Bowl magazine advertisement from the AMVETS urging people to stand for the national anthem, but the veterans organization isn’t sitting still for that.
The AMVETS advertisement prominently features the words #PleaseStand, a hashtag deemed “too political” by the NFL for its game-day program.
The NFL reportedly asked AMVETS to submit an advertisement for the program, only to reject it. The advertisement shows servicemen holding the American flag, a message on how to donate to the organization, and a quick synopsis on its mission.
“The Super Bowl program is designed for fans to commemorate and celebrate the game, players, teams, and the Super Bowl. It has never been a place for advertising that could be considered by some as a political statement,” said Brian McCarthy, NFL vice president of communications.
“Freedom of speech works both ways. We respect those who chose to protest, as these rights are precisely what our members fought—and, in many cases, died—for,” Marion Polk, AMVETS national commander, wrote in a letter addressed to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“[O]ur ad is neither a demand, nor a judgment upon those who choose to kneel during the national anthem,” Polk said.
The NBA and the NHL have both accepted the #PleaseStand advertisement to run in their respective game programs. That makes the NFL’s rejection even more inexcusable, he said.
— Marion Polk (@AMVETSNatlCmdr) January 22, 2018
The #PleaseStand movement was created in reaction to the ongoing controversy begun by Colin Kaepernick, then the San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback. During the 2016 preseason, Kaepernick began taking a knee, rather than standing, during the national anthem in response to what he regards as social and racial injustice in the United States. Some other players followed suit.
The Kaepernick controversy has become a public relations nightmare for the NFL, Polk said.
“The NFL’s intention to avoid controversy in this instance by suppressing our voice will have the opposite effect,” he said. “It will not be taken lightly by the hundred of thousands of voices that AMVETS represents.”
Many of AMVETS’ supporters are using the new twitter hashtags #BoycottSuperBowl and #BoycottNFL to raise awareness of the league’s suppression of its free speech.
The Super Bowl is set for Sunday, Feb. 4, featuring the 2017 champion New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles. It will be played at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.