Amid 'Please Stand' Controversy, NFL Announces It Will Honor Veterans During Super Bowl

news
Hershel “Woody” Williams accepted the dedication of a 68,000 square foot military training center in his name in Fairmont, W. Va. Oct. 18, 2012.
U.S. Marine Corps/Cpl. Michael Ito

Days after receiving criticism from a national veterans organization for rejecting an advertisement urging players and fans to stand during the national anthem, the National Football League announced Thursday that it would honor veterans during Super Bowl LII.


Fifteen Medal of Honor recipients will be part of the Super Bowl coin toss ceremony on Feb. 4 in Minneapolis, the NFL announced. The game pits the Philadelphia Eagles against the New England Patriots.

World War II veteran Hershel “Woody” Williams, 94, will flip the coin, surrounded by the other Medal of Honor recipients. Williams received the Medal of Honor in 1945 for his actions during the Battle of Iwo Jima.

“The NFL is proud to honor our nation’s heroes at Super Bowl LII,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a written statement. “These courageous individuals deserve to be recognized on America’s biggest stage.”

The announcement was made just days after American Veterans, known as AMVETS, spoke out against the NFL for rejecting a print advertisement the group submitted for the official Super Bowl LII programs. The full-page ad pictured the American flag, soldiers and the words “Please Stand,” referring to the movement of NFL players protesting racial inequity and injustice by kneeling during the performance of the national anthem before the start of games.

Following the outcry, NFL Vice President of Communications Brian McCarthy said official Super Bowl programs should not be used for political messaging and that AMVETS was given an opportunity to amend their ad.

AMVETS sent a letter to Goodell on Monday, calling the decision “corporate censorship.”

The NFL emphasized Thursday its efforts to honor veterans and the military, including its season-long “Salute to Service” military appreciation initiative. The league also partners with military nonprofits TAPS, USO, Pat Tillman Foundation and Wounded Warrior Project.

Other Medal of Honor recipients participating:

Bennie Adkins, Army, Vietnam; Don Ballard, Navy, Vietnam; Sammy Davis, Army, Vietnam; Roger Donlon, Army, Vietnam; Sal Giunta, Army, Afghanistan; Flo Groberg, Army, Afghanistan; Tom Kelley, Navy, Vietnam; Allan Kellogg, Marines, Vietnam; Gary Littrell, Army, Vietnam;Walter Marm, Army, Vietnam; Robert Patterson, Army, Vietnam; Leroy Petry, Army, Afghanistan; Clint Romesha, Army, Afghanistan; James Taylor, Army, Vietnam.

———

©2018 the Stars and Stripes. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Want to read more from Task & Purpose? Sign up for our daily newsletter »

A Marine wanted for killing his mother's boyfriend reportedly escaped police by hiding inside an RV they'd spent hours searching before towing it to a parking lot, where he escaped under the cover of darkness.

It wasn't until more than two weeks later authorities finally caught up to Michael Brown at his mom's home, which was the scene of the crime.

Brown stuffed himself into a tight spot in his camper during an hours-long search of the vehicle on Nov. 10, according to NBC affiliate WSLS in Virginia. A day earlier, cops said Brown fatally shot his mother's boyfriend, Rodney Brown. The AWOL Marine remained on the lam until Nov. 27, where he was finally apprehended without incident.

Read More Show Less

No motive is yet known for last week's Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard shooting tragedy, which appears to have been a random act of violence in which the sailor who fatally shot two civilian workers and himself did not know them and did not plan his actions ahead of time, shipyard commander Capt. Greg Burton said in an "All Hands" message sent out Friday.

Machinist's Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Antonio Romero of San Antonio, an armed watch-stander on the attack submarine USS Columbia, shot three civilian workers Dec. 4 and then turned a gun on himself while the sub rested in dry dock 2 for a major overhaul, the Navy said.

"The investigation continues, but there is currently no known motive and no information to indicate the sailor knew any of the victims," Burton said.

Read More Show Less
A projectile is fired during North Korea's missile tests in this undated picture released by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) on November 28, 2019. (KCNA via Reuters)

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said it had successfully conducted another test at a satellite launch site, the latest in a string of developments aimed at "restraining and overpowering the nuclear threat of the U.S.", state news agency KCNA reported on Saturday.

The test was conducted on Friday at the Sohae satellite launch site, KCNA said, citing a spokesman for North Korea's Academy of Defence Science, without specifying what sort of testing occurred.

Read More Show Less

Since the Washington Post first published the "Afghanistan papers," I have been reminded of a scene from "Apocalypse Now Redux" in which Army Col. Walter Kurtz reads to the soldier assigned to kill him two Time magazine articles showing how the American people had been lied to about Vietnam by both the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations.

In one of the articles, a British counterinsurgency expert tells Nixon that "things felt much better and smelled much better" during his visit to Vietnam.

"How do they smell to you, soldier?" Kurtz asks.

Read More Show Less
Erik Prince arrives for the New York Young Republican Club Gala at The Yale Club of New York City in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., November 7, 2019. (REUTERS/Jeenah Moon)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Erik Prince, the controversial private security executive and prominent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, made a secret visit to Venezuela last month and met Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, one of socialist leader Nicolas Maduro's closest and most outspoken allies, according to five sources familiar with the matter.

Read More Show Less