Rihanna reportedly declined an offer to headline the halftime show in Super Bowl 53 next year because “she supports Colin Kaepernick.”
Us Weekly reports a source said the popular singer disagrees with the NFL’s national anthem policy.
“The NFL and CBS really wanted Rihanna to be next year’s performer in Atlanta,” Us Weekly quoted the source as saying. “They offered it to her, but she said no because of the kneeling controversy. She doesn’t agree with the NFL’s stance.”
Maroon 5 will instead headline the show, and Us Weekly reports Cardi B is being considered as a special guest.
Kaepernick is currently pursuing a grievance against the NFL, claiming team owners and executives have colluded to keep him out of the league since he opted out of his contract with the 49ers in early 2017.
More than two years after Kaepernick became the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem, he remains a polarizing figure. Last week, Harvard University awarded him one of its highest honors, the W.E.B Du Bois Medal. Earlier this year, NFL legend Jim Brown said he’d never hire Kaepernick if he were a general manager, and he said he’d never “desecrate” the American flag and national anthem, as he claimed Kaepernick had done by kneeling.