People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) claims that the NFL and FOX blocked their Super Bowl ad, which riffed on former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling campaign from 2017.
The activist ad features a cartoon bald eagle and other animals taking a knee, in Kaepernick fashion, to protest “speciesism” and the abuse of animals by humans, while someone hums the national anthem offscreen. “Respect the right of every living being,” the end of the ad says.
The controversial animal rights organization captioned the ad via Twitter: “THIS is the PETA [Super Bowl] ad the [NFL] apparently didn’t want you to see and pressured [FOX Sports] to snub. It envisions a world where respect is the right of every being and pays homage to Kaepernick and movements rejecting injustice.”
The one-minute commercial, according to The Mercury News, was pitched to, and rejected, by FOX even though the organization said it would pay the $10 million it costs to air the ad.
“The National Football League apparently found our new Colin Kaepernick-inspired ad — with its message of inclusion and respect — too daring and pressured FOX to snub our commercial,” PETA claimed via their website, according to The Mercury News. “PETA worked with a talented group of advertisers and artists who came up with the idea for our beautiful ad. Positively acknowledged by Kaepernick himself, this project pays homage to all movements that remind us to open our hearts and minds and reject all forms of injustice, including sexism, ableism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and speciesism. … The NFL may be unconcerned with inequality, but we at PETA are activists who will continue to work to dismantle all forms of oppression.”
According to Yahoo Sports, PETA has “offered no evidence to support that the NFL played a role in passing on the commercial.”
In the past, however, the NFL has openly blocked ads for being too political. For example, the organization spiked a “Please Stand” ad from a veterans group before Super Bowl LII.
“The printed advertisement was submitted by the national veteran’s nonprofit organization AMVETS, which took an opposite angle on the social justice kneeling trend that swept through the league in 2017 and 2018,” outlined Yahoo Sports. “The ad featured a photo of a service veteran with the American flag and message of ‘#PleaseStand.’”
“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,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement regarding the ad.
Kaepernick began refusing to stand during the national anthem at a preseason game against the Houston Texans on August 14, 2016. “The next week,” The Daily Wire reported at the time, “Kaepernick sat on the bench again for the playing of the anthem ahead of the preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, at which point, his private protest started to get national attention.”
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” the QB explained his protest.
“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way,” Kaepernick added. “There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
— PETA (@peta) January 31, 2020