Pop star Rihanna stands with former 49ers quarterback and social justice advocate Colin Kaepernick.
Before the NFL announced in September Maroon 5 as the Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show performers, the league approached Rihanna about the gig, according to US Weekly. Rihanna declined the opportunity to perform on one of the biggest stages in sports to show she supports Kaepernick, the tabloid reported.
“The NFL and CBS really wanted Rihanna to be next year’s performer in Atlanta,” a source told US Weekly. “They offered it to her, but she said no because of the kneeling controversy. She doesn’t agree with the NFL’s stance.”
At the beginning of the season, the NFL implemented a national anthem policy which required players on the sidelines to stand during the “The Star-Spangled Banner.” If players opt to protest by taking a knee, they could be subject to punishment.
The NFL’s policy came after the league faced heavy criticism by many — including President Donald Trump — for allowing players to follow Kaepernick’s lead and take a knee during the anthem to protest racial inequality in the United States. Trump has deemed the gesture unpatriotic and disrespectful to the flag.
Kaepernick, who hasn’t played in the NFL since the 2016-17 season, began the protest in 2016.
He filed a grievance against NFL team owners, claiming they conspired not to employ him because of his protests. While Kaepernick hasn’t spoken to the media in more than a year, he became the face of a new Nike advertising campaign last month, which encouraged viewers to “believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Rihanna, who has been focusing on her new cosmetic line called “Fenty Beauty,” hasn’t commented on the report, according to US Weekly.