Rihanna Rejected Super Bowl 53 Halftime Show in Solidarity with Colin Kaepernick

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 9, 2019

Barbadian singer/actress Rihanna arrives for Rihanna's 5th Annual Diamond Ball Benefitting The Clara Lionel Foundation at Cipriani Wall Street on September 12, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)

Rihanna confirmed she turned down the opportunity to headline the Super Bowl LIII halftime show in Atlanta in solidarity with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

"I couldn't dare do that," the singer said in an interview with Vogue's Abby Aguirre. "For what? Who gains from that? Not my people. I just couldn't be a sellout. I couldn't be an enabler. There's things within that organization that I do not agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way."

Kaepernick hasn't appeared in an NFL game since the 2016 season, when he began protesting during the national anthem to raise awareness about police brutality against people of color and other social issues.

He filed a grievance against the NFL in October 2017, alleging team owners were colluding to keep him out of the league as a response to his activism. The two sides reached a settlement in February.

Us Weekly's Nicholas Hautman first reported last October that representatives from the NFL and CBS "really wanted Rihanna" to perform at the Super Bowl but that she turned down the offer because of the Kaepernick situation.    

Cardi B told the Associated Press' Jonathan Landrum Jr. in February that she had been offered the opportunity but declined because she wanted to "stand behind" Kaepernick.

Maroon 5 eventually landed the gig and were joined onstage by Big Boi and Travis Scott during the halftime show.