Gladys Knight, who was announced Thursday as the singer for the United States national anthem before Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3, said she'll attempt to give a voice back to "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Jem Aswad of Variety provided a statement from Knight in response to a question about the NFL's treatment of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who's remained a free agent since March 2017 after kneeling during the anthem to protest racial injustice.
"I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things, and they are police violence and injustice," she wrote. "It is unfortunate that our National Anthem has been dragged into this debate when the distinctive senses of the National Anthem and fighting for justice should each stand alone."
The legendary soul singer added she hopes her rendition of the anthem will "bring us all together in a way never before witnessed:"
"I am here today and on Sunday, Feb. 3 to give the Anthem back its voice, to stand for that historic choice of words, the way it unites us when we hear it and to free it from the same prejudices and struggles I have fought long and hard for all my life, from walking back hallways, from marching with our social leaders, from using my voice for good—I have been in the forefront of this battle longer than most of those voicing their opinions to win the right to sing our country's Anthem on a stage as large as the Super Bowl LIII."
Kaepernick is engaged in an ongoing collusion case against the NFL alleging he's been kept out of the league because of his protest during the anthem, not football reasons.
He's earned several awards for his efforts to shed light on the issue, including the 2017 Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award and being named the GQ Magazine Citizen of the Year for 2017.