Veterans group unveils 'Please Stand' anthem ad that NFL rejected
The American Veterans organization, or AMVETS , has released a print ad Wednesday submitted for inclusion in the Super Bowl LII program — but rejected by the NFL — and expanded on its message with a short video.
The ad features soldiers carrying aloft the American flag with two simple words: "Please stand."
AMVETS National Commander Marion Polk said the organization was invited by the NFL to place an ad in the game program, "but that appreciation quickly gave way to deep disappointment when we learned your staff had refused to publish our ad because of its simple, two-word message — '#PleaseStand.' "
AMVETS also created a 30-second video with the same message.
An NFL spokesman did not immediately return an email seeking comment.
In a Jan. 22 letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Polk accused the league of hypocrisy for permitting patriotic demonstrations on the field but not in the Super Bowl program.
"Mr. Goodell, veterans are good for more than just military aircraft fly-overs, photo opportunities during halftime, or props to sell camouflage-style NFL apparel," Polk wrote. "Although, the NFL's stance on not allowing the veterans' unfiltered voice to be heard says otherwise."
NFL players protesting racial injustice by kneeling during the National Anthem at NFL games was a source of controversy for much of the 2017 season, with President Trump even making a brief reference to it during his State of the Union address on Tuesday night.
"Our message has always been patriotic and polite. It simply requests that people choose to stand during the national anthem. It neither judges, vilifies or even opposes those who choose otherwise," said AMVETS Executive Director Joe Chenelly. "We're simply asking that people choose standing, and the NFL has made it harshly clear that it does not want veterans delivering this message anywhere near its biggest game. We think that's wrongheaded."
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.