According to Nine Line Apparel CEO and co-founder Tyler Merritt, CBS rejected Nine Line Apparel’s advertisement based on its patriotic, pro-flag message. CBS cited credit issues as the reason for rejecting the ad despite Nine Line grossing over $25 Million last year alone. Merritt asserts that the company absolutely could afford the ad spot. “CBS contacted our references and our references replied promptly and honestly that Nine Line Apparel has always paid on time and in full.” Task & Purpose profiled the company recently and reported approximately $70 million in sales since its founding. The Washington Post also reported that Nine Line Apparel brings in approximately $25 million in revenue annually.
Nine Line Apparel’s ad featured Benghazi survivor, U.S. Marine Mark Geist, other veterans, and first responders supporting values that the veteran owned apparel company holds dear: patriotism and respecting the nation’s flag. Geist narrates, “Some people think you’re crazy for being loyal, defending the Constitution, standing for the flag. Then I guess I’m crazy."
Last year, Nike adopted controversial NFL athlete Colin Kaepernick as the centerpiece of its new ad campaign. Their commercial implied that the former quarterback has made significant sacrifices by standing up for his beliefs. Nine Line Apparel responded to this assertion with their own ad featuring Mark Geist, one of the only survivors of the Benghazi attacks. "The word 'sacrifice' among military members, it's something severe," he said. To hear Merritt tell it, it's difficult to make a parallel between an athlete's sacrifice and a soldier's.
Merritt adds, "CBS’s purported reason for rejecting a Super Bowl commercial that extols patriotism is totally out of bounds. Let’s call this what it is: a blatant attempt to censor a message that their politically correct executives find offensive. We urge Americans who believe it’s important to show respect for our flag and national anthem to join us in calling out this offensive bias. It’s time to give a penalty flag to CBS."