The NFL has officially rejected a request from organization AMVETS to publish a large, one-page Superbowl 52 advertisement called “Please Stand.” The politically-driven ad shows three soldiers respectfully carrying the American flag with a #PleaseStand hashtag emblazoned at the top of the page. At the bottom, an additional request for $20 tax-deductible donations asks the reader to support AMVETS financially.
• The NFL rejected the original ad because they believed it to be too politically driven. They believe their acceptance could make it appear as if the NFL was inappropriately endorsing specific political ideologies.
• Last year, Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during the National Anthem to protest racial inequality in the United States. This led to significant debate both on and off the fields, with many people calling for Kaepernick to be removed from football altogether on the basis of disrespect.
• Despite significant pressure from funding sources and politicians, the NFL has thus far refused to force players to stand. Some have pointed out that forcing players to stand could even amount to a violation of First Amendment rights.
• NFL spokesman, Brian McCarthy, explained the refusal more plainly. “It’s [The Super Bowl] never been a place for advertising that could be considered by some as a political statement,” said the NFL spokesman. “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.”
• President Donald Trump originally spurred on much of the debate after Kaepernick’s original refusal to stand. At a rally held last year, he suggested that they were “disrespecting the flag.” “Get that son of a (expletive) off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired! …” he suggested.
• Joe Chenelly, executive director for the organization that requested the #PleaseStand advertisement, denies that it was meant to be inflammatory. Instead, he believes the advertisement is simply AMVETS exercising their First Amendment rights – just like the players who refuse to kneel. “This is part of our Americanism program,” he explained.
• NFL organizers suggested altering the tag line to “#PleaseStandForOurVeterans” in a show of respect, but AMVETS refused to make the change. The commercial’s evaluation period expired before the two organizations could come to a new decision.
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What do you think about the NFL’s rejection of this ad?