CBS has rejected an ad from a veteran-owned athletic wear company, likely over concerns that the ad was "too political."
The ad, which "features soldiers, first responders, and images of military graves decorated with American flags and gives credit to them for protecting the rights of those like Kaepernick to protest," was titled "Just Stand," and promoted clothing from Nine Line apparel, a veteran-owned athletic wear company, according to the Washington Examiner.
CBS reportedly told Nine Line that they weren't confident the company, which pulls in a cool $25 million per year, could afford the steep, $5.25 million price tag for a 30-second spot during Sunday night's big game, but a spokesperson for Nine Line says CBS objected to the ad's overly political content.
The ad parodies a Nike ad from earlier in the NFL season that featured former 49ers second string quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who is best known for "taking a knee" during the national anthem as a way of protesting racism. The controversial Nike ad celebrated Kaepernick for "sacrifing everything."
That ad concludes with the words, “So don’t ask if your dreams are crazy. Ask if they are crazy enough.”
Nine Line's ad opens with a similar line, narrated by a survior of the horrific attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which took the lives of four American officials and the American ambassador. The ad opens with the line, "Don’t ask if your loyalty is crazy. Ask if it’s crazy enough.”
“Some people think you’re crazy for being loyal, defending the Constitution, standing for the flag. Then I guess I’m crazy,” the narrator says, over photos of members of the military and first responders. "“For those who kneel, they fail to understand that they can kneel, that they can protest, that they can despise what I stand for, even hate the truth that I speak, but they can only do that because I am crazy enough."
You can watch the full advertisement on YouTube (even if you can't watch it during Sunday's game).
Nine Line was understandably insulted by CBS's decision.
"CBS’s purported reason for rejecting a Super Bowl commercial that extols patriotism is totally out of bounds," Nine Line's CEO told the Examiner in a statement. "Let’s call this what it is: a blatant attempt to censor a message that their politically correct executives find offensive. We urge Americans who believe it’s important to show respect for our flag and national anthem to join us in calling out this offensive bias. It’s time to give a penalty flag to CBS."
Nike is, of course, expected to have an ad in Sunday's Super Bowl, but details of the ad have not yet been released.
Nine Line's ad is hardly the first "political" ad CBS has rejected. This year, the network happily welcomed ads from a number of alcoholic beverage distributors and manufacturers, but rejected an ad from a company called "Acreage Holdings" advocating for the legalization of cannabis nationwide, according to ABC News. Back in 2009, NBC, which hosted the Super Bowl that year, refused to air an explicitly pro-life ad paid for by Catholic organizations.
The "political" line isn't just reserved for organizations on the Right, however. PETA has had several ads rejected for being "too controversial."
The Super Bowl will air Sunday night on CBS. The Nine Line ad can be viewed all day and night on the Internet.