LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — The National Football League is firing back at a claim made last month by a popular firearms manufacturer that the advertisement it submitted to air during the Super Bowl was rejected due to the nature of the company.
Daniel Defense says Fox, the network broadcasting Super Bowl XLVIII, vetoed the minute-long ad, citing the NFL’s strict advertising policy against promoting firearms.
However, a league spokesperson says the claim is a work of public relations fiction designed to draw inexpensive attention to the company.
“This is a completely bogus story,” NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said.
McCarthy says the league had no knowledge of the spot and does not sell advertising for games, including the Super Bowl. All sales are handled by the network broadcasting the game, which is in line with Daniel Defense’s claim.
However, the NFL says the company, known to gun enthusiasts for its DDM4 line of rifles, did not follow the advertisement submission process as it suggests.
“The spot never made its way to Fox Sports which was selling advertising for the game,” McCarthy said.
Even if it had, McCarthy says the spot would have been rejected by the network’s standards and practices department.
The league has no stance on ownership or gun control, but does have a policy related to firearms in the workplace. Such policies are commonplace in work environments.
Firearms are forbidden in every facility owned, operated or being used by an NFL club.
Players are permitted to legally posses a weapon and must strictly adhere to the league policy as well as local laws governing firearms. An NFL security representative is made available to players for consultation regarding the laws.
Players who violate the policy or face criminal weapons charges are subject to fines, suspension from playing and criminal prosecution.
Fox is charging advertisers a record-setting $4 million for 30 seconds of airtime during the most-watched sporting event of the year, according to USA Today.
The commercial, which reportedly cost little to produce, was created specifically to adhere to the league’s advertising policy, according to Daniel Defense.
The ad, which is posted below, features a young military veteran returning to his home in a quaint middle class neighborhood.
The man walks into the house and hugs an attractive wife before the couple jointly checks on their newborn baby. As the husband and wife look on, the following narrative is heard: “My family’s safety is my highest priority. I am responsible for their protection and no one has the right to tell me how to defend them. So, I’ve chosen the most effective tool for the job.”
The screen then cuts to black and shows the company’s logo, which includes a silhouette of a semiautomatic rifle.
Daniel Defense submitted the advertisement to Fox affiliate WTGS-TV in Savannah, Ga. to air locally during the game.
Les Vann, general manager of station, confirmed the affiliate had received and rejected the ad.
The commercial would likewise have been forbidden from airing outside of the Super Bowl because it failed to meet internal advertising guidelines set by the station.
Stations in Houston and Atlanta similarly rejected the commercial.
The NFL’s advertising policy states firearms, ammunition or other weapons companies may not be promoted during broadcasts. An exception can be made for stores that sell other products in addition to guns and ammunition.
Walmart, for example, sells rifles and gun accessories in many of its stores and is also a longtime NFL advertiser. Because firearms are not the focus of the advertisements and account for only a small percentage of the retailer’s sales, the commercials are permitted.
The NFL forbids any advertisement that mentions or display firearms, ammunition or other weapons.
Daniel Defense says its spot meets the league’s qualifications because the store sells outdoor gear and supplies in addition to firearms.
Claims of a ‘banned’ Super Bowl ad received national attention from outraged firearms supporters, including the National Rifle Association, who called for the NFL to explain the decision. Company CEO Marty Daniel openly spoke out about the rejection during a number of media appearances.
Daniel Defense prominently featured the ad on its website along with a graphic that read: “The Ad That Was Banned During The Big Game. See What All The Controversy Is About.”
The number of views the advertisement received skyrocket on the company’s YouTube channel due to the heavy media coverage in December.
In the weeks since, the graphic has been taken down and the video’s description on YouTube has been altered to remove any reference to the ad being barred from the Super Bowl.
A local NBC affiliate did permit the company to advertise during the 2012 Super Bowl.
Daniel Defense did not respond to multiple requests for comment.