The National Football League’s hypocrisy and selective decency standards reek like a postgame locker room. On the one hand, the organization refuses to run a firearms manufacturer’s self-defense Super Bowl ad under the guise of neutrality and taste. Yet, the professional football conglomerate routinely revels in raunchiness, gratuitous physical violence, and anti-gun screeds.
Welcome to the National Frauds’ League.
The NFL is free to accept or reject any advertiser it wants to, of course. But its “prohibited content” list seems a far more accurate description of your average Super Bowl half-time performance and ad rundown. Between Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunctions and Beyoncé’s leather-clad dry humping, the football execs have embraced lucrative vulgar ads over the years that have featured:
an upside-down clown who appears to pour Bud Light beer up his rear end;
a bizarre sex-change-operation analogy to tout Holiday Inn’s hotel upgrades;
a barefoot Kenyan runner violently dragged to the ground by white hunters and forced to wear a pair of Just For Feet running shoes;
a flatulent Budweiser horse whose emissions cause a candle to torch a woman’s hair;
ad characters getting electrocuted, run over by buses, kicked, punched, tackled, thrown out of high-rise buildings, and attacked by crotch-biting dogs.
Skeezy Super Bowl spots have degraded women with everything from soapy car washes and jiggling bikini tops to squirty burgers and suntan-lotion sessions to group stripper pole dances. The NFL regularly airs trailers for violent Hollywood movies and video games. In the aftermath of the Newtown massacre last year, for example, a commercial promoting the shoot-’em-up flick Gangster Squad aired during a Colts–Texans game, and a spot promoting the M-rated video game Hitman: Absolution aired during a postgame show.
The NFL’s laughable ad policy also restricts “social cause/advocacy advertising,” presumably in the interest of neutrality. But the league itself has discouraged players from using weapons at home for legal self-defense and has opposed legal Wisconsin concealed-carry weapons holders from bringing their weapons into Lambeau Field.
Meanwhile, notorious motormouth Bob Costas was free to hijack Sunday Night Football last year to attack America’s “gun culture.” The wannabe MSNBC host exploited the murder-suicide of NFL player Jovan Belcher, claiming that “handguns do not enhance our safety” and ignoring the millions of successful defensive uses of handguns.
But God forbid an advertiser be allowed to show a family safe and secure because they exercise their Second Amendment rights, right? The NFL’s got its Swiss-cheese standards, dagnabbit, and the standards must be enforced! Despite Daniel Defense’s offer to replace the weaponry image in the company logo with an American flag, the ban by the NFL and its Super Bowl broadcasting partner Fox stands.
“We believe in protecting our families. We believe in our Second Amendment, which is the right to protect ourselves,” Marty Daniel of Daniel Defense said this week in appealing the decision. “We believe in the First Amendment, which is really the issue here. We are trying to exercise our First Amendment rights to give our opinion on the Second Amendment.”
Thankfully, the NFL’s political fumbles and broadcasting double standards have given self-defense advocates the chance to take the ball and run with it. And gun-owning sports fans who are sick of being denigrated by the sanctimonious sports syndicate hold the ultimate weapon: the remote control.