In solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, a number of prominent artists, including Rihanna, Pink, and Cardi B, passed on the opportunity to play this year’s Super Bowl Halftime Show, which is how we ended up with Maroon 5 with special guests Travis Scott and Big Boi. In the lead up to this weekend’s Big Game, both Maroon 5 and Scott have sought to quell criticism of their involvement by making substantial charitable donations to relevant charities. (Maroon 5 is giving $500,000 to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, while Scott has pledged a $500,000 donation to the social justice charity Dream Corps.)
Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters is hoping Maroon 5 and Scott go a step further — or, should I say, a knee lower. In a statement released Thursday, Waters called on this year’s performers to “‘take a knee’ on stage in full sight,” adding, “I call upon them to do it in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, to do it for every child shot to death on these mean streets, to do it for every bereaved mother and father and brother and sister.”
Waters also shared a video of his band taking a knee at the end of a concert in Hartford, Connecticut in September 2017. “We did it in solidarity with San Francisco Quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s gesture of protest against the endemic racism and often deadly force meted out by police departments across this land,” Waters explained.
“Next Sunday will be the 36th Sunday he has been locked out of your national game,” Waters continued. “This is not a victory for the NFL, it is a defeat, you have denied football fans everywhere the pleasure and the honor of watching one of the greatest quarterbacks who ever played the game, and you have shown your true colors. You can sit in your boardrooms and huff and puff on your cigars in your glass boxes, but your action is a poke in the eye for everything that is decent in America. Colin Kaepernick is an American hero. If the USA is to have a future, it is the Colin Kaepernicks of this world who will lead you there, in fact, it is Colin Kaepernick who is leading you now.”
The members of Maroon 5 have shown no indication that they plan to get political during this weekend’s performance. They already canceled a pre-Super Bowl press conference in order to avoid answering questions about the controversy. A statement released by the NFL said Maroon 5 will instead “let their show do the talking.”