The ad included an American flag with #PleaseStand.
The NFL has rejected a one-page advertisement for the Super Bowl program from the American Veterans (AMVETS) organization that included the message "Please Stand," according to USA Today's Erik Brady.
The ad featured an American flag with an accompanying message of #PleaseStand. AMVETS national commander Marion Polk called the move by the NFL as "corporate censorship" and that it denies veterans the right to freedom of speech. The ad takes a stand against the players who have protested during the national anthem by kneeling or sitting before NFL games throughout the season.
In a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, AMVETS noted that the NHL has allowed for the ad to run in their respective programs.
"The Super Bowl game program is designed for fans to commemorate and celebrate the game, players, teams and the Super Bowl,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told USA Today. “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.”
Ads for the program are not sold through the NFL but with a third-party publisher. The NFL has final say on approving what goes into the program.
“We looked to work with the organization and asked it to consider other options such as ‘Please Honor our Veterans,’” McCarthy added. “They chose not to and we asked it to consider using ‘Please Stand for Our Veterans.’ Production was delayed as we awaited an answer. As the program was going to production, the organization asked about including a hashtag” — as in #PleaseStand — “and was informed that approval would not be provided in time and was asked to approve the ad without the hashtag. The organization did not respond and the program ultimately went into production to meet deadlines.”
McCarthy noted that an ad from the Veterans of Foreign Wars was approved and it read "We Stand for Veterans."