"American Veterans appreciated the opportunity to place an ad in the Super Bowl LII program at the invitation of the National Football League, 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 National Commander Marion Polk wrote in a scathing letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
NFL Vice President of Communications Brian McCarthy said in a statement, "The Super Bowl program is designed for fans to commemorate and celebrate the game, players, teams, and the Super Bowl".
McCarthy added, "It's never been a place for advertising that could be considered by some as a political statement".
The Philadelphia Eagles will take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl on Sunday, February 4, 2018.
McCarthy said AMVETS was given a chance to amend their ad from "Please Stand" to other options, such as "Please Honor Our Veterans" or "Please Stand for Our Veterans". "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". It reads, "We Stand For Veterans".
They noted that the program will include a similar ad from the Veterans of Foreign Wars that states simply "We Stand for Veterans".
Chenelly disputes the National Football League didn't hear back from AMVETS in time for printing.
The letter didn't stop there, with Polk reminding Goodell that veterans aren't to be used as props or fake good will.
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.
"We respect the rights of those who choose to protest", he continued, but "imposing corporate censorship to deny those same rights to those veterans who have secured it for all is reprehensible".
AMVETS was prepared to pay $30,000 to a third-party publisher for the full-page ad, the price available to nonprofits. The program also involves a poster and essay contest for K-12 students.
It's interesting to note that according to AMVETS officials, the same ad was accepted into the all-star game programs for the National Hockey League and MLB.
A legless vet in a wheelchair stands for the national anthem.
In September, the national commander of the American Legion issued a statement urging people to respect the National Anthem.