As we all know, the Super Bowl is one of the most popular events in sports. Part of what makes it so popular is the much anticipated Super Bowl Halftime Show when a famous musical act is selected to perform during halftime. This football season, Super Bowl LIII, 2019, is set to happen on Sunday, Feb. 3 in Atlanta, Ga. at Mercedes Benz Stadium, the home field of the Atlanta Falcons. This year, the NFL offered the performance spot to Rihanna, but she shockingly turned it down. Rihanna declined, according to a Us Weekly report, because she does not support the NFL’s view on the kneeling controversy, where players would kneel during the National Anthem, as opposed to standing respectfully. This a very brave and mature thing to do on her part, considering the Super Bowl Halftime Show is a really big deal for both the artist selected and the viewers, because she is standing up for her values and what she believes in. Not many performers would turn down this opportunity unless they had some serious or legitimate reason. Rihanna could have very well accepted the spot to perform for the millions of people watching, and gain a lot of publicity, but she instead chose to stick to her values and refuse the request from the NFL. She specifically declined because of her support of San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick. As reported by Variety, back in the 2016 season, Kaepernick was the first NFL player to kneel during the anthem, and he did so “in protest of police brutality and racial inequality”. Due to his actions, he was expelled from playing in the NFL and hasn’t played professionally since. Even though I respect Rihanna’s decision to decline the Super Bowl due to her beliefs, I do not agree with the specific beliefs that she has about this kneeling controversy. Along with Rihanna’s beliefs, I also do not agree with Kaepernick’s actions.
Although I understand that Kaepernick and other NFL players are upholding their values and beliefs about the country, I do not respect that they are kneeling during the anthem. The National Anthem is one of our nation’s ways of showing pride for our country and blessing any event it is sung at. Standing with our hands on our hearts and hats off of our heads is a sign of respect and love for our country. I understand that there are major problems in the United States, such as racism, that need to be worked out to improve our country, but kneeling during our nation’s song is not an appropriate action to take when referencing or working to solve these problems. Singing the National Anthem brings a sense of unity among everyone present, and unity and working together is what will drive our country to make the necessary changes and improvements to our homeland. Kneeling is disrespectful in my eyes because it shows a disconnect from the country due to anger towards things that are wrong, as opposed to showing a want to remedy those issues. The players kneeling should really start by working to fix the problems instead of silently protesting them and disrespecting an important element of our country. The bottom line is that they are still people of America, playing football in this country, and they have the duty to work towards improving our country, just as we all do. Rihanna and Kaepernick have had different ways of showing their beliefs and how they protest, but Rihanna’s approach was much more acceptable and respectful.
It has officially been announced that Maroon 5 will be performing at the Super Bowl Halftime show this year.