The AMVETS' organization had its proposal for a one-page ad in the Super Bowl LII program was rejected by the NFL.
AMVETS executive director Joe Chenelly told Erik Brady of USA Today the ad wasn't designed as a commentary on NFL player protests that have occurred during the national anthem.
“The protests are very much out of our purview,” he said. “We were not looking to comment on those."
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Brady said the ad was rejected because the Super Bowl program avoids any material that could be interpreted as political in nature:
“The Super Bowl game program is designed for fans to commemorate and celebrate the game, players, teams and the Super Bowl. 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.”
The ad features members of the military holding an American flag with the hashtag #pleasestand.
McCarthy did note the NFL approved an ad for the Super Bowl program by the VFW that includes text about benefits offered to military veterans, along with a “We Stand for Veterans” tagline.
Many NFL players have taken part in silent protests—either by taking a knee or raising their fist—over the past two seasons during the playing of the national anthem.
The Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots will play in Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.