AMVETS does not represent the values of our military nor do they represent my best interest as a veteran.

AMVETS fabricated a lie in saying the NFL rejected their ad and their public relations staff is spinning this lie to generate donations. I am a member of a FB group where a member of your public relations staff was bragging about owning the news cycle.

Here are the facts that have been revealed through due diligence of respectable media sources.

The NFL printer did not approve the last minute change to an AMVETS print ad; this is different from the NFL rejecting the ad. There are multiple sources out there that revealed the reasons why the print ad was rejected, including AMVETS last-minute submission of a different print ad that did not have time to be approved by the NFL.

As the details were revealed, I become more and more disappointed with your organization.

Too make the issue worse, AMVETS is now sending out an amateur video and trying to sell it as the rejected video.

The AMVETS is manipulating the story to receive more donations.

In my opinion, AMVETS has lost any credibility it had; I have lost all respect that I had for AMVETS and I will never donate to them.

Usually, I would close with “respectfully” but that will not be the case here.

Vance Fleming
Major, US Army (Retired)


Good morning Vance,

Thank you for reaching out. I am thankful for this chance to set the record straight. You are absolutely incorrect in your accusations. We have all seen the posts in the Facebook Public Affairs group you’re talking about. In fact, several editors and producers have been sent screen grabs of the posts. Every single credible editor and producer came to the same exact conclusion: there was nothing underhanded and the conspiracy theories are false.

There are a lot of reports out there from news outlets that never spoke with us, which has led to some incorrect narratives. The fact is the NFL came to us via their ad agency. There was a tight timetable, but we met every deadline and openly communicated with them in a timely fashion. The NFL did in fact reject our ad. They initially asked us to place an ad, even citing our Americanism program as a good program to promote through the ad. Two days after we sent the ad in, the NFL came back and asked us to change our message to a much more general message, telling us to stay away from the national anthem issue. We declined. I’ve spoken about why numerous time all over the place. Based on the NFL’s statement, it seems the ad agency may not have conveyed our final rejection or their rejection. But that changed nothing.

If what you are implying was true, the NFL would have stated that. The NFL is not disputing that they rejected our ad. The NFL is not disputing anything we have stated because is it all true.

Of course, the new video PSA that has gone viral was not the ad in question. The ad in question was a print ad, and we’ve always stated that. We have been clear about that in the many, many interviews we have done on every major network, most of the largest print outels and hundreds of radio shows and affiliate stations. This PSA was created at the request of several media outlets that want to run a video to help convey our message. The PSA was sent out clearly explaining that.

Here is the release for the PSA video: https://digitalmedia.vnr1.com/2018/01/31/Please-Stand-PSA/. I provide this to show you that we are not trying to trick anyone into thinking this is the rejected ad. We see that some are making that incorrect assumption and have been correcting any media that reports such.

We understand not every veteran wants this message conveyed. We have never said we speak for every veteran. Our organization has a democratic process by which our members set our positions and priorities. Americanism, the promotion of patriotism, is a key goal our members set for us at HQ.

I get it, you don’t like the message. We respect that and have not argued with anyone about it. You have your views and we have ours, That’s good, that’s Americanism. We welcome all views and are glad so many conversations have been spurred by this. But I want to be crystal clear: we have been honest and sincere throughout this.

Joe Chenelly
AMVETS National Executive Director

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