NFL protests have been going on for years, and recently opened again with the issue of professional football players kneeling, sitting, or not even entering the field for the national anthem. Then, the NFL rejected an ad for the super bowl that said, “Please stand” as in referring to the anthem.
The American Veterans (AMVETS) submitted an ad asking for donations to the organization for individuals who have served in the U.S. military and also includes the message “Please Stand.” The NFL refused to put this ad on the super bowl. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell defended the decision Tuesday citing, in part, the league’s policy against ads that carry a political message.
However, some people are arguing that the saying “Please Stand” is not political. While this may be valid, President Trump has taken a vocal stance on Twitter against the protests, asking NFL owners to fire such players.
CBS stated that “Please Stand” refers to those NFL players who took a knee during the national anthem to protest social injustice.” But, the executive director of AMVETS, Joe Chenelly, defended their reasoning behind placing the ad, and said they only wanted to exercise their free speech just like the players who kneel during the national anthem, and they weren’t targeting the players specifically. If the NFL players can kneel as a form of free speech, then the AMVETS can us this ad as their free speech.
The NFL suggested other forms of the phrase such as “Please Honor Our Veterans” and “Please Stand for Our Veterans,” according to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy. However, Marion Polk, the American Veterans national commander said ““We decided that we were not going to change our ad. We placed it as ‘Please Stand’ and under the First Amendment we have the right to do that.”
This whole situation can be considered a violation of the first amendment, but at the same time, the NFL might say they have a right to show what they want. Later the NFL accepted an ad from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, with a message of “We Stand for Veterans.”
Interestingly enough, during the Super bowl this Sunday, during the National Anthem, no one protested. We don’t know why, but it is believed to be the doing of the NFL. Because of the protests this year the NFL has been getting less views, and if these players are seen standing and respecting the flag then ratings may go up. However it is still unknown why no one protested during this year’s super bowl. The protests may dying down, or it could be a temporary pause that will explode again in the years or months to come.