Created: Tuesday, January 23, 2018:4:29 PM
The NFL has told the nation's largest veterans service organization, American Vets, its patriotic ad that encourages people to stand for the American flag and national anthem will not be tolerated.
AMVETS had been solicited by the NFL to place an ad in the Super Bowl LII program. When the submitted advertisement included a two-word message, "#PleaseStand", the NFL suddenly threw the penalty flag at veterans and gave the game ball to Team Censorship.
"It's a simple, polite request that represents the sentiment of our membership, particularly those whose missing or paralyzed limbs preclude standing," National Commander Marion Polk wrote in a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
"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 added in the letter. "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."
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the Army Times that the advertisement program "is designed for fans to commemorate and celebrate the game, players, teams, and the Super Bowl."
McCarthy added, "It's never been a place for advertising that could be considered by some as a political statement."
The AMVETS chief noted the irony that the NFL continues to claim that the anti-American protests by millionaire players on the field represent "free speech" even as the league denies free speech to AMVETS.
AMVETS officials said the same #PleaseStand ad was accepted by the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball for inclusion in their all-star games' programs. The organization sees the advertisement as an extension of their role as a 'nonpartisan advocate for veterans and their families.'"