Maroon 5 will perform during halftime at this season’s Super Bowl in Atlanta, several publications reported last month, leaving us all on the edge of our seat. According to Us Weekly, though, Adam Levine’s group was the NFL’s backup plan. A new story claims Rihanna turned down an offer to headline the halftime show in solidarity with exiled quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
“The NFL and CBS really wanted Rihanna to be next year’s performer in Atlanta,” an anonymous source reportedly 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.”
The tabloid broke the news of Maroon 5’s Super Bowl booking, and that of Lady Gaga in 2017 and Justin Timberlake in 2018. Kaepernick’s kneeling pre-game protests of racist and brutal police practices, and subsequent inability to find an NFL employer, have previously drawn public support from the likes of Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Stevie Wonder, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and Cardi B.
The NFL has not confirmed any scheduled performers, telling the New York Times last month, “It’s a Super Bowl tradition to speculate about the performers for the Pepsi Halftime Show. We are continuing to work with Pepsi on our plans but do not have any announcements to make on what will be another epic show.”
As of July, Rihanna was reportedly working on a new album inspired by her Caribbean roots. She last appeared on N.E.R.D.’s song “Lemon,” as well as its Drake-featuring remix, and co-starred in Oceans 8.