Superstar Rihanna allegedly turned down an offer to perform at Pepsi’s Super Bowl halftime show in support of quarterback Colin Kaepernick and to mark her disapproval of the way the NFL responded to his actions.
“The NFL and CBS really wanted Rihanna to be next year’s performer in Atlanta,” an unidentified insider revealed to 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.”
Entertainment Tonight also reports that both Rihanna and Pink both turned down offers, but in addition to political motivations, they claim that negotiations were taking too long.
Kaepernick was the first athlete to begin protesting the national anthem at NFL games, first by sitting, and later by kneeling. He was joined by other athletes in his movement. Now, as a free agent, Kaepernick is suing the NFL on the claim that they purposely kept him from playing based on his political actions. He now works with Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign.
Rihanna herself has not spoken up about the Super Bowl offer, either to confirm or deny that her decision was related to Kaepernick, but other celebrities have commented.
Most notably, actress and comedian Amy Schumer made several social media posts saying it would be “cool” if Maroon 5 also rejected the offer like Rihanna. She further commented that more white athletes should take action to support Kaepernick and that she wouldn’t be appearing in any Super Bowl advertisements.
University of Connecticut students also support Rihanna’s decision.
“People may say she needs to stay in her space as a celebrity, but if Rihanna can’t speak on a political issue, you’re saying the average citizen can’t either,” said third-semester psychology major Savannah McLean. “I support her decision to get involved.”
This is not the first time a celebrity has turned down the Super Bowl. Just last year, Jay-Z made the same move to support Kaepernick. Adele has also turned down the halftime show, but according to CBS her motivations were different. She claimed the show was “not about the music” but the spectacle.
In general, students support the ability of celebrities to take political stances.
“I think it’s important because otherwise their platform is almost going to waste,” said third-semester pre-pharmacy student Rebecca Vales. “No matter her opinion, I think celebrities should be able to act on their own opinions, even if it creates political backlash.”
Variety claims that part of the reason celebrities turn down the NFL is because they no longer need them. In the past the Super Bowl halftime show was the pinnacle of entertainment and could help rocket a performer into stardom. Now, as a singer, diplomat, businesswoman and actress, and even with more albums and tours to hype up, Rihanna is powerful enough without a Super Bowl appearance.
Alex Houdeshell is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.