Veterans Group Objects After 'Please Stand' Ad Rejected for Super Bowl Program
The veterans organization AMVETS is objecting after a one-page ad with the message, "Please Stand" that it wanted to place in the Super Bowl program was rejected by the NFL. They are charging corporate censorship, and noting that similar ads were accepted by the NHL and NBA for the official programs for their All-Star games.
An NFL spokesman told USA Today, "The Super Bowl game 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."
The NFL said they'd asked AMVETS to consider changing the language, giving options like "Please Honor our Veterans" and "Please Stand for Our Veterans," but they didn't agree.
AMVETS national commander Marion Polk said in a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell yesterday, "[O]ur ad is neither a demand nor a judgment upon those who choose to kneel during the National Anthem. It's a simple, polite request that represents the sentiment of our membership . . . We sought to give a new context to the discussion from the perspective of veterans who had been largely disregarded." Polk also stated: "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. 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."