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Super bowl ads continue NFL scandal

by Sarah Morris - Copy Editor
Tue, Jan 30th 2018 08:00 pm

Since San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick chose to kneel during the national anthem at a football game to make a statement, the NFL has been blasted for being associated with extreme political bias. Kaepernick started a movement and by the next year, over 200 football players were kneeling during the anthem out of protest against racism and police brutality in the United States. President Donald Trump demanded that all protesting players be fired immediately, but the NFL announced it would not comply, and since 2017, its ratings have gone down 9.7 percent, according to ESPN.

If anything, Trump gave the players more incentive to rebel. He stated, “‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out. He’s fired. He’s fired!’” when referencing what the NFL should do to those players who knelt.

The NFL is yet again under fire after denying a one-page advertisement sent in by the American Veterans (AMVETS), due to it being “too political.” AMVETS was founded in 1944 after WWII. There are over 250,000 members to help veterans. 

The situation was called to attention after AMVETS wrote a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, arguing against his decision not to run the potential Super Bowl ad, which included the message, “Please Stand.”

The advertisement was a simple picture of an American flag with the words “Please Stand” next to it and below, in smaller letters, a request for donations to help support veterans. That’s all that is known about the ad, as the audio was never released. Based on what the public does know, this advertisement was meant to be harmless. . Although the NFL had every right to refuse it, being “too political” was the worst possible reason they could’ve chosen.

“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 said in an interview with USA Today. “It’s never been a place for advertising that could be considered by some as a political statement.”

National commander of American Veterans Marion Polk said originally the NFL wanted to change the ad message to “we stand for veterans.” Although this gives the veteran community plenty of  awareness, it’s clear the NFL is trying their best to defend their players by taking the spotlight off the flag and trying to shine it on the veterans. Instead, they are only dampening the veterans voices by altering their words. 

“Under the First Amendment, they cannot dictate to us what our ad reads,” Polk said. “We were actually paying for the ad… speech goes both ways.” 

If anything, the NFL are being hypocritical. The problem with this isn’t the players who kneel during the anthem, though I do believe their actions are useless. Polk also noted the uselessness of the players’ protesting. 

“It's the players’ right to kneel but I'm not sure how that's going to solve the problems we have in the U.S. with the violence,” he said. 

The NFL has lost, and are continuing to lose, ratings; eventually, this will all die down and people will forget they ever cared about the kneeling controversy. Regardless, as Americans, it is their right to kneel or not during the anthem, disrespectful or not.

These players’ actions are considered, by many, as unethical, but despite this, the NFL defended them with the same argument the AMVETS are making trying to get their ad aired during the Super Bowl. The NFL did, however, allow another Veterans ad to run 

In my opinion, the NFL should let the AMVETS run their ad. Just as the American flag gives football players the right to kneel during the anthem, it also gives the AMVETS the right to have their voices heard. 


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