WASHINGTON (WSAV) — A veterans group says the NFL rejected its Super Bowl ad, asking people to “please stand” for the National Anthem.
American Veterans (AMVETS) claims the NFL asked them to place an ad in the Super Bowl program book and then refused to run it because it was “too political.”
“They did not think that was an appropriate ad for the program,” explained Marion Polk, National Commander at AMVETS. “And so they actually requested us to change that to another phrase and we decided that we weren’t going to do that, that we’re going to keep it as it was as ‘please stand.'”
Polk says the ad is in response to the NFL players protesting racial inequality and injustice by kneeling during the performance of the National Anthem before the start of games.
But when the Eagles and the Patriots face off next week in Minneapolis, the AMVETS ad won’t be in the official program.
“Our First Amendment rights were violated by them not running our ad the way we wanted it,” said Polk.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement that the Super Bowl program has “never been a place for advertising that could be considered by some as a political statement,” going on to say the NFL has “long supported the military and veterans.”
Percy Elhosseine plans on watching the Super Bowl. He says both sides, the players kneeling in protest and AMVETS asking them not to, have the right to express their own opinion.
“I think it’s a nice platform for them to get their message across,” he says. “If we are allowed to express our thoughts and our feelings about issues, based on the First Amendment, then this falls right in line.”
The NFL says they offered to change the wording of the ad to “please stand for our veterans,” but after AMVETS rejected their proposal, they went ahead and printed the programs.