As the Super Bowl approaches, advertisers line up to pay an estimated five million to push their 30-second ad. Normally these ads focus on humor or a catchy jingle, but one veterans’ group took a more somber route with their commercial “Please Stand.” The NFL, which has been dealing with an ongoing PR nightmare due to players kneeling during the anthem, declined to air the commercial.
AMVETS National Commander Marion Polk lambasted NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell in an open letter after discovering the ad was declined. “Mr. Goodell, veterans are good for more than just military flyovers, photo opportunities during halftime, or props to sell camouflage-style NFL apparel,” Polk wrote.
“Our ad is neither a demand nor judgment upon those who choose to kneel during our National Anthem,” he added. “It’s a simple, polite request that represents the sentiment of our membership, particularly those whose missing or paralyzed limbs preclude standing.”
In response, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told USA Today in an email: “The Super Bowl game program is designed for fans to commemorate and celebrate the game, players, teams and the Super Bowl,” McCarthy said.
“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.”
The ad in question shows three servicemen holding the American flag with the text “#PleaseStand.” According to The Hill, a group of servicemen are planning on handing out printed flyers as people entered the stadium on Feb. 4 asking them to stand during the anthem .
The veterans who are pushing the ad are a part of a non-profit group that was started by those who fought in World War II.