Per Jonathan Landrum Jr. of the Associated Press, the hip-hop artist explained her mixed emotions in turning down the gig before ultimately deciding it was the right thing for her to do:
“My husband, he loves football. His kids play football. It’s really hard for him. ... He really wants to go to the Super Bowl, but he can’t go to the Super Bowl, because he’s got to stand for something. You have to sacrifice that. I got to sacrifice a lot of money to perform. But there’s a man who sacrificed his job for us, so we got to stand behind him.”
Per Nicholas Hautman of Us Weekly, Rihanna was a target of the NFL and CBS to headline this year's halftime show before she turned down the offer.
"The NFL and CBS really wanted Rihanna to be next year's performer in Atlanta," a source told Hautman. "They offered it to her, but she said no because of the kneeling controversy. She doesn't agree with the NFL's stance."
Kaepernick has been out of the NFL for the past two seasons after protesting during the national anthem while playing with the San Francisco 49ers in 2016. He is still awaiting a decision in his collusion grievance against the league.
Zach Seemayer of Entertainment Tonight reported the league also approached Pink, who sang the national anthem prior to Super Bowl LII, but she wound up moving on after negotiations took too long.
Eventually, the NFL landed on Maroon 5 as the halftime show's headlining act with guest appearances from Travis Scott and Atlanta-based rapper Big Boi.
Sandwiched around the halftime act will be the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots competing in Super Bowl LIII from Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday.