NFL runs 'equal pay' Super Bowl ad while rejecting vets ad to stand for anthem
Last month, the NFL rejected an ad from AMVETS asking everyone to stand for the national anthem. They called the ad too "political" to run.
But the league approved another ad that was blatantly political. T-Mobile's ad made a plea for "fair and equal pay" - a fraught political issue that means many things to many people. Why they ran the T-Mobile ad and not the AMVETS ad is a question many are asking.
The T-Mobile spot features narrator Kerry Washington telling a group of babies, “Some people may see your differences and be threatened by them, but you are unstoppable.”
“You’ll love who you want, you’ll demand fair and equal pay, you will not allow where you come from to dictate where you’re going,” she says.
The problem? The wage-gap debate is far from settled. Advocates point to statistics showing that women earned on average 82 cents for every dollar earned by men in 2016, while critics counter that the discrepancy all but disappears after adjusting for factors such as hours worked, occupation and employment gaps.
The blurb riled conservatives still simmering over the NFL’s decision last month to turn down an American Veterans print ad for the Super Bowl program over the message #PleaseStand.
“Ugh, awful @TMobile ad. That was okay to run, but not the AmVets ad?” tweeted conservative pundit Dana Loesch.
The NFL said in a statement that the #PleaseStand ad ran afoul of its policy against running advertising in the program that could be “considered by some as a political statement,” given its reference to the take-a-knee protests during the national anthem.
Why allow one ad and not the other? “I think it’s a pretty clear double standard,” said Brittany Hughes, the conservative Media Research Center’s television managing editor.
“It’s pretty much beyond obvious at this point that the NFL is not committed to being apolitical like they claim,” said Ms. Hughes. “If they had truly wanted to stay out of politics, they would have never run the T-Mobile ad, because the entire thing was political.”
The NFL did not respond immediately to a request for comment Monday on the apparent discrepancy, nor did NBC, which broadcast Super Bowl LII.
The double standard is probably more due to the fact that T-Mobile spends a ton of money on ads during football games all year compared to AMVETS' one off program ad for the Super Bowl.
But that certainly doesn't make it right. "Equal pay" is an issue that will be decided in the political arena. Standing for the anthem is an expression of patriotism that shouldn't be political at all. But the NFL is arguing that owners and the players have chosen to make it political because Donald Trump tried to shame the players into standing during the anthem. I guess you could make a case that the president's intervention in the issue made it a poltical one, but only if you ignore what the players had been saying was the reason for the protest. They and the owners decided to make kneeling during the anthem a political issue long before Trump berated them for their actions.
Note: Viewership for the Super Bowl was at the lowest level in a decade. As long as the league maintains a double standard like this, it's only going to get worse.