Pop sensation Rihanna reportedly turned down an opportunity to perform at the Super Bowl LIII halftime show in order to show solidarity with NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who is currently unemployed in the league after facing pushback over his decision to protest racial inequality by kneeling during the national anthem at games.
“The NFL and CBS really wanted Rihanna to be next year’s performer in Atlanta,” an inside 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.”
After Rihanna turned down the halftime show gig, the league instead offered the job to pop-rock group Maroon 5, which accepted. Rapper Cardi B, who performed a verse on the Maroon 5 song “Girls Like You” is also reportedly being considered for a special guest appearance.
The issue of national anthem protests has become a huge problem for the league, which has tried to ban the practice of kneeling during the anthem this year after criticism from fans and President Donald Trump, who has been outspoken about his disdain for Kaepernick and other black athletes who protest the anthem. Kaepernick is currently suing the league for allegedly colluding to not hire him in retaliation for his peaceful protests.
The news of Rihanna’s reported decision to take a stand, so to speak, for Kaepernick comes shortly after the resignation of U.S. Gymnastics interim CEO Mary Bono, who was criticized by Olympic gold-winning medalist Simone Biles for publicly defacing a pair of Nike sneakers as a statement of her disgust for the company’s support of Kaepernick. Biles and fellow Olympian Aly Raisman had also harshly criticized the hiring of Bono because of her prior work for law firm Faegre Baker Daniels, which has been accused of helping covering up former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar’s abuse of athletes — including Raisman and Biles.
Read the full story at Us Weekly.