According to the NFL, an ad from American Veterans bearing the words “#PleaseStand” isn’t allowed to run in the Super Bowl program because the Super Bowl has “never been a place for advertising that could be considered by some as a political statement.” Uh, what Super Bowls have I been watching? Lately, more and more ads have been carrying statements that more than some would consider political. 2016’s “#DefyLabels” ad for Mini Cooper comes most prominently to mind.
Indeed, last year’s event took the cake. Instead of avoiding political statements, the NFL seemed to be begging for them. First, there was the Budweiser ad, released days after President Donald Trump announced the travel ban, which told the story of the struggle the company’s immigrant founder faced to come to America. Then came the AirBnb ad, titled “We Accept,” which contained the line, “we believe no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love, or who you worship, we all belong.” Finally, there was an Audi commercial, which the Washington Post called “one of the more moving of the year,” depicting a father wondering how he can tell his daughter that the world doesn’t value her as much as it values men.
Seemingly, the NFL’s rule is less about blocking ads that carry any political statement and more focused on those that carry a certain kind of political statement.