Culture Beat / January 26, 2018

NFL Seeks Super Bowl LII Restoration of Reputation

To save face, commissioner Goodell announces that Medal of Honor recipients will make the Super Bowl coin toss.

In a move clearly aimed at saving face for its dubious decision to forbid a #PleaseStand ad from the nonprofit American Veterans (AMVETS), because of it’s “political statement,” the National Football League announced that it will honor veterans during the Super Bowl. Not just any veterans — 15 Medal of Honor recipients will be a part of the opening coin-toss ceremony, including World War II veteran Hershel “Woody” Williams, who will flip the coin. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stated, “The NFL is proud to honor our nation’s heroes at Super Bowl LII. These courageous individuals deserve to be recognized on America’s biggest stage.” However, the NFL has not backed off its ban of the AMVETS’ ad.

While the NFL likes to claim it is seeking to remain politically neutral, in recent years it has allowed numerous commercials that have clearly expressed a political message. As Philip H. Devoe of National Review points out regarding last year’s Super Bowl ads, “Instead of avoiding political statements, the NFL seemed to be begging for them. First, there was the Budweiser ad, released days after President Donald Trump announced the travel ban, which told the story of the struggle the company’s immigrant founder faced to come to America. Then came the AirBnb ad, titled ‘We Accept,’ which contained the line, ‘we believe no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love, or who you worship, we all belong.’ Finally, there was an Audi commercial … depicting a father wondering how he can tell his daughter that the world doesn’t value her as much as it values men.”

In reality, over the last few years, the NFL has been perfectly fine with political statements, so long as those statements leaned to the Left.


Besides Williams, the other Medal of Honor recipients who were saluted at the game are:

  • Bennie Adkins: Army, Vietnam (award delayed 9/15/2014)
  • Don Ballard: Navy, Vietnam (awarded 5/14/1970)
  • Sammy Davis: Army, Vietnam (awarded 11/18/1967)
  • Roger Donlon: Army, Vietnam (awarded 12/5/1964)
  • Sal Giunta: Army, Afghanistan (awarded 11/16/2010)
  • Flo Groberg: Army, Afghanistan (awarded 11/12/2015)
  • Tom Kelley: Navy, Vietnam (awarded 5/17/1969)
  • Allan Kellogg: Marines, Vietnam (awarded 10/15/1973)
  • Gary Littrell: Army, Vietnam (awarded 10/15/1973)
  • Walter Marm: Army, Vietnam (awarded 12/19/1966)
  • Robert Patterson: Army, Vietnam (awarded 10/10/1969)
  • Leroy Petry: Army, Afghanistan (awarded 7/12/2011)
  • Clint Romesha: Army, Afghanistan (awarded 2/11/2013)
  • James Taylor: Army, Vietnam (awarded 11/19/1968)

(Updated.)

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