PEMBROKE — The National Football League’s rejection of a Super Bowl advertisement by Black Creek-based Daniel Defense has generated quite a stir.
The most recent example came Tuesday morning, when the Fox News Channel’s Fox & Friends morning show ran a clip of the commercial.
Afterward, host Elizabeth Hasselbeck interviewed Daniel Defense CEO Marty Daniel about the video, which was apparently prohibited because it violates the NFL’s advertising policy on firearms.
The league bans advertising of firearms, ammunitions and weapons — though stores that sell firearms and weapons can advertise during the Super Bowl if they sell other products.
Daniel, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday, told Hasselbeck his company made the ad believing it was within the NFL’s rules.
The weapons manufacturer, which has a facility in both Black Creek and in Bluffton, S.C., also sells shirts and pocket knives and hats and other outdoors gear, Daniel said.
In addition, the ad doesn’t mention weapons, though it does end with a graphic showing the company’s DDM4 automatic rifle.
Daniel, a 1985 Georgia Southern grad and Claxton native who launched Daniel Defense in 2000, told Hasselbeck the company offered to remove the graphic and replace it with an American flag and the words “Shall not be infringed,” and was rejected.
But Daniel said from the outset the company believed it was within the league’s rules.
“We actually went to the rule box and pulled out their set of rules and said, ‘Hey, we want to create an ad that we (think would resonate with NFL fans),” Daniel said. “Inside their rule set we scripted this ad, we wrote it, produced it and sent it in for approval and got a big no.”
The advertisement, which can be viewed at bryancountynews.net, opens with a clean cut young man, apparently a Marine Corps veteran, driving an SUV — complete with a Daniel Defense decal on the back window — along what appears to be a treelined Savannah street to a two-story home.
There he meets his wife and they look in on an infant in a crib.
The man narrates the commercial, which before going to the graphic with the DDM4 automatic rifle has him talking about his responsibility to protect his wife and child.
“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,” he says in the commercial that then cuts to the image of the weapon, beneath which are the words: “Daniel Defense. Defending Your Nation. Defending Your Home.”
Though Fox was perhaps the first cable news network to latch onto the story — perhaps not surprising since the Super Bowl will air on Fox — Fox & Friends didn’t break the story, which has gotten attention across the Internet.
A Google search of “Daniel Defense Super Bowl ad” brought up more than 11.2 million results, linking to stories or blogs on sites ranging from Guns.com to the National Review to the Huffington Post.
Videos showing the commercial are abundant and one includes reaction on Youtube harshly criticizing the NFL.
Guns & Ammo did a short piece Nov. 27 on the rejected advertisement, and that story generated more than 230 comments, most in favor of Daniel Defense.
In addition, various websites promoting First or Second Amendment rights have taken up the story, which also has been cast as a First Amendment issue regarding freedom of speech.
Daniel mentioned both rights in his interview with Hasselbeck, whose husband is former NFL quarterback Tim Hasselbeck.
“We believe the average, the majority of Super Bowl fans have the same values at Daniel Defense,” Daniel told her. “We believe in protecting our families, we believe in our Second Amendment, which is the right to protect ourselves … (and) we believe in the First Amendment, which is really the issue. We are trying to exercise our First Amendment rights to give an opinion on the Second Amendment and not being allowed to do so.”
The NFL has not responded to the any of the stories online, but in Tuesday morning’s Fox & Friends interview Daniel repeatedly urged viewers to ask the league to run his ad.
“If you love the First Amendment and you love the Second Amendment … then call the NFL and tell them, ‘Come on, man, run my ad,’” he said.