Retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre had the opportunity to spend some time with wounded Army veteran Rusty Dunagan in Mississippi on Monday.
Favre met with Dunagan and his family on their farm after auctioning off a personalized training session last year as part of a fundraiser for Hope Village, an organization that helps lead abused, neglected, or abandoned children “to a place where hope is born.”
Actor Gary Sinise, who starred in “Apollo 13” and “CSI: NY,” won with the highest bid and pledged to donate the session with Favre to a wounded veteran. Finally, after a long wait, the former NFL star was able to provide that training session, though Favre said they’d probably just end up going fishing, Military Times reports.
“I met Gary last year after I retired out of the military, Dunagan said. “He came down to Brooke Army Medical Center to put on a concert for the troops.”
Later, through his Smart Homes for Heroes project, Sinise helped get Dunagan situated with a new home, where he now lives with his family.
Dunagan enlisted in the Army in 2006 and nearly four years later, in 2010, he was deployed to Afghanistan. Seven weeks into his tour, Dunagan was standing on top of an IED when it detonated and blew him into a nearby creek.
“I was conscious the whole time and I was trying to recover myself, trying to figure out why I couldn’t’ get out of the water,” Dunagan said. “That’s when I realized both my legs and my left arm were gone.”
Dunagan said that while he was in a peaceful state of mind, he was intent on making it home to his family.
For Sinise, giving back to Dunagan was just one small way to say thank you.
“The meeting between wounded U.S. Army veteran Rusty Dunagan and Brett is a way we can take a moment to give back and say ‘thank you’ to a man who sacrificed so much in service to our country. Andy by helping Hope Village at the same time, it’s a win-win,” Sinise said.
Favre, who expressed how fortunate he and his family have been over the years, said being able to hang out with Dunagan was one of his overall highlights.
“I’m honored to help,” Favre said. “Believe me, I know how blessed my life, as well as how my wife and I – how blessed our lives have been and the fact that we can help people and touch other peoples’ lives. We grew up humble, modest. We are very fortunate to have the success that I have had over the years – the things we have been able to do and see and experience is just truly a blessing. This ranks right up at the top.”
On March 9th NBC’s Bob Costas dismissed criticism of his having armed guards while disparaging “gun culture” by saying his guards were NBC and NFL security, not “personal” bodyguards.
He did this while being interviewed by Fox News’s Howard Kurtz, who brought up Costas’s December 2012 halftime criticism of “the NFL’s gun culture.”
Kurtz said “You were accused of injecting politics into halftime, and Fox News’s Greg Gutfeld said you were ‘a hypocritical buffoon’ because you’re in New York, and you’re surrounded by armed guards, and you don’t have to worry about safety.”
Costas responded, “In truth, Greg was accurate if you consider one-hundred-eighty degrees from the truth accurate. I have never had a personal bodyguard a single day in my life. There are security people at NFL games that the NFL employs, and there is always massive security at an Olympics, and there… is NBC security.”
The problem with this explanation is that Gutfeld did not say Costas hired a “personal bodyguard.” Rather, he said Costas “doesn’t have to worry about being armed. People are armed for him.”
The NFL and NBC security personnel are armed, aren’t they?
NFL Vice President of Communications Brian McCarthy. (Photo credit: NY Daily News)
Two months ago, Georgia-based firearms company Daniel Defense made headlines when the NFL rejected their conservative commercial for the upcoming Super Bowl. Well, this week the NFL responded to that controversy publicly, saying the whole thing is made up.
“This is a completely bogus story,” NFL Vice President of Communications Brian McCarthy saidto CBS Sports.
McCarthy says the league had no knowledge of the spot and does not sell advertising for games, including the Super Bowl.
The network broadcasting the game, which is in line with Daniel Defense’s claim, handles all sales. This year’s bowl network, Fox Sports, never received the spot according to the representative. That the spot was not submitted properly.
However, he conceded that even if it had been, Fox Sports would have rejected it anyway due to not meeting requirements.
It was only in the closing seconds of the proposed Daniel Defense ad that featured a firearm, albeit a simple silhouette of a firearm.
The saga of Daniel Defense’s banned commercial starts back in September of last year. It was then that the company announced on the company’s Facebook page that it was filming a new commercial in Wilmington, North Carolina. The company seemed pleased with the progress of the commercial, designed to be able to run on any channel.
Then, two months later news broke from Daniel Defense that the NFL had rejected the new commercial. The Fox affiliates did this by explaining, “Unfortunately, we cannot accept your commercial in football/Super Bowl spots due to the rules the NFL itself has set into place for your company’s category.”
The NFL has numerous categories of prohibited products that it will not allow networks to advertise during its games. These range from flavored malt beverages (unflavored is fine) to tobacco products to firearms.
Specifically on firearms, the policy states that “Firearms, ammunition or other weapons; however, stores that sell firearms and ammunitions (e.g., outdoor stores and camping stores) will be permitted, provided they sell other products and the ads do not mention firearms, ammunition or other weapons.”
The commercial that Daniel Defense, which does operate a storefront, submitted to Fox Channel WJCL in Savannah as well as outlets in Houston and other stations, did not mention firearms, ammunition or weapons other than an image at the end of the spot that showed one of the manufacturer’s DDM4 model AR-15 style rifles in profile.
Even after dropping the image, Daniel Defense advised that the Fox affiliates still rejected the spot, citing the NFL policy.
This did not stop the company from posting the ad on YouTube and garnering much publicity from the ban, regardless of whether the denial came from a local affiliate, Fox Sports, or the NFL proper.
Rather than have to pay up to $4 million in advertising space to run the spot in the Super Bowl, the company was able to market it for free through social media. Today there are over 40 YouTube videosonline that reference the Daniel Defense NFL ad saga, with nearly 3 million combined views.
As Yahoo Sports columnist Jay Busbee notes, “Of course, getting ads ‘banned’ is a badge of honor; the message gets out at a fraction of the cost of actual airtime. GoDaddy built an entire industry on this practice with its allegedly-too-hot-for-the-NFL campaigns.”
Notably, during the 2013 Super Bowl the NFL allowed a paid spot from Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s pro-gun control organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns to air. Though, the same Super Bowl carried a commercial from Daniel Defense in the Georgia area as well.
But this year, DD isn’t going to be there.
Neither Daniel Defense, nor WJCL Fox Savannah responded to requests for comments.
Daniel Defense recently submitted a commercial to FOX to be played during the 2014 NFL Super Bowl XLVIII. Though the video doesn’t showcase one of the company’s popular DDM4 rifles, this paid advertisement spot was rejected by the NFL.
The commercial, which focuses on themes of personal protection and fundamental rights, was originally created by Daniel Defense to run in any network TV station at any time.
According to a statement from FOX to Daniel Defense, “Unfortunately, we cannot accept your commercial in football/Super Bowl spots due to the rules the NFL itself has set into place for your company’s category.”
The NFL’s Advertising Policy addresses several Prohibited Advertising Categories, including guidelines for ads featuring alcohol, video games, movies, prescription drugs, and, of course, firearms.
The firearms portion of the NFL’s Prohibited Advertising Categories states: “5. Firearms, ammunition or other weapons are prohibited; however, stores that sell firearms and ammunitions (e.g., outdoor stores and camping stores) will be permitted, provided they sell other products and the ads do not mention firearms, ammunition or other weapons.”
According to these guidelines, Daniel Defense’s Super Bowl commercial does not violate NFL policy for two reasons:
Daniel Defense has a brick-and-mortar store, where they sell products other than firearms such as apparel.
The commercial itself does not mention firearms, ammunition or weaponry.
While Daniel Defense’s commercial does not mention firearms, it does include a logo of their DDM4 rifle at the very end.
When the NFL denied the ad, Daniel Defense immediately offered to replace the DDM4 logo with an American flag and/or the words “Shall not be infringed.”
The NFL replied with another non-negotiable denial.
Interestingly enough, the NFL’s decision to deny the ad comes after Daniel Defense ran a commercial in local Georgia markets during the 2012 Super Bowl XLVI on NBC, with no objection from the NFL. That particular commercial pictured the manufacture of firearms and concluded with a clip of Larry Vickers shooting a rifle.
Meanwhile, ads featuring violent movies and video games continue to appear regularly during NFL broadcasts.
Check out video of Daniel Defense’s banned Super Bowl commercial below, and judge for yourself. Is it time for fans to throw down the challenge flag?