The American Family Association is the petitioning the NFL to reconsider its recent rejection of a veterans' group print advertisement asking fans to stand during the national anthem.
More than 78,000 people have signed the conservative group’s online petition as of Monday morning. The petition that blasts the league and Commissioner Roger Goodell for “blatant hypocrisy” for allowing players to kneel but opposing the AMVETS ad.
AMVETS was offered full-page ad space in the NFL’s printed Super Bowl program for the non-profit rate of $30,000. But the league refused to sign off on the national veteran group’s proposal to use #PleaseStand in the ad, saying it did not want the space to become political.
“Take note of the irony that AMVETS points out,” Tim Wildmon, the president of the American Family Association, said in a statement. “The NFL continues to claim that the anti-American protests by millionaire players on the field represent ‘free speech,’ yet the league is denying free speech to AMVETS.”
The veterans group said part of its mission is to teach Americans how to properly respect the flag and it felt broaching the controversial subject of national anthem protests during football games was worthwhile. The group has pointed out is it merely asking people to stand, not demanding it.
Some players began kneeling during the song to protest social injustice, especially police brutality against black Americans, but it sparked outrage from those who found it disrespectful and unpatriotic. President Trump was among the critics who hammered the NFL to rein in players.
The AMVETS controversy erupted just as the public furor seemed to be dying down. The NFL pointed out its long support of veteran causes and said the annual Super Bowl printed pamphlet is not a place for politics.
Now, the American Family Association has jumped into the fray. It is pressing the league to print the ad, though that remains unlikely because the pamphlet has already gone to print.
“I am appalled to learn the NFL has decided to reject a patriotic ad by AMVETS. Rejecting an ad that simply encourages Americans to stand for the national anthem and our flag is an insult to every veteran who has served in our nation’s military,” the AFA petition states. “In the strongest possible terms, I urge you to stop the blatant hypocrisy and accept the patriotic ad by AMVETS as originally submitted.”