The NFL has refused to run a one-page advertisement in the Super Bowl program that simply reads “Please Stand.” The ad was provided by the American Veterans (AMVETS), who were asked by the NFL if they would like to give another ad that met the NFL’s liking

AMVETS did not resubmit the ad. The ad was a picture of three soldiers holding the American flag with the words “Please Stand.”

The ad was not provocative, nor was it anti-NFL. It was simply veterans using their free speech to ask the men and women to please stand and honor our flag and our country.

The NFL Super Bowl programs are supposing to commemorate the game, teams, and players. However, this year’s program will be commemorating the loss of integrity that a once great organization has and is continuing to experience.

AMVETS National Commander Marion Polk wrote in an open letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, “freedom of speech works both ways. We respect the rights of those who choose to protest, as these rights are precisely what our members have fought — and in many cases died — for. But imposing corporate censorship to deny that same right to those veterans who have secured it for us all is reprehensible and totally beyond the pale.”

“Please Stand” isn’t a mandatory declaration. AMVETS is not disrespecting the rights of those who wish to kneel in protest. They fought for the rights of all citizens to protest. Our soldiers defend our freedoms, and for an organization to revoke their right is more than disrespectful.  It’s a slap in the face.

Veterans, Gold Star Families and current service men and women deserve to be treated with respect and given the same rights that they have given so much to defend. Please Stand.