Friday, February 16, 2007

The Super Bowl Ad the NFL Didn't Want You to See

Americans like me, who love football almost as much we love our country, will be outraged to learn that the NFL refused to run a recruitment ad from the Border Patrol in this year’s Super Bowl program.

Said Greg Aiello, an NFL spokesman, “[T]he immigration debate is a very controversial issue, and we were sensitive to any perception we were injecting ourselves into that.”

Never mind that the upcoming NBA All Star Game and the NCAA Final Four have both accepted the ad—excuse me, “injected” themselves. Or that it’s particularly important at this time for the ad to reach a wide audience, since President Bush has promised to increase the size of the Border Patrol, from 9,000 to 12,000 agents, in fiscal year 2008 alone.

The NFL’s real reluctance derives from a craven wish to avoid offense, especially vis-à-vis its growing fan base of Hispanics. “The game was in Miami,” Aiello told ABC News, “where [immigration] is a sensitive political issue ... [It] made us a little bit uncomfortable.”

But what exactly about the ad would make someone uncomfortable? That it asks for “the right men and women to help protect America’s southwest borders”? That it cites duties like preventing “the entry of terrorists and their weapons,” blocking “unlawful entry of undocumented aliens” and “stopping drug smuggling”? Perhaps that it avoids controversy by sidestepping subjects like amnesty, a guest-worker program or legalization?

Whatever the rationalization, chalk this up as yet another instance of political correctness run amok.

Update: See also this article in the Hill about Congressman Tom Tancredo's (R-CO) letter to the NFL commissioner.

Update: In case you missed it, Dave appeared on Fox and Friends on Sunday. Calling the NFL's position "disingenuous," he said the organization owes the Border Patrol an apology.