Each year, the halftime show at the Super Bowl is an overhyped, yet coveted, performance slot for musicians seeking to reach an audience of millions. Its draw is obvious. But this year, Cardi B is sitting it out in solidarity with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
In an interview with the Associated Press, 26-year-old Cardi B said she turned down an offer to perform during the Super Bowl halftime show on Sunday.
“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,” she told the AP.
Kaepernick still hasn’t been offered a QB job in the NFL after he started a silent protest in 2016 by taking a knee during the national anthem at games to draw attention to police brutality and racial injustices across the U.S. He left the team the next year, and no NFL team has hired him since.
In 2017, Kaepernick filed a grievance claim against NFL owners accusing them of colluding to prevent teams from hiring him.
“NFL teams exhibited unusual and bizarre behavior regarding Mr. Kaepernick’s prospective employment. Multiple NFL head coaches and general managers stated that they wanted to sign Mr. Kaepernick, only to mysteriously go silent with no explanation and no contract offer made to Mr. Kaepernick,” the claim states.
It also notes that President Donald Trump called kneeling players “sons of bitches” and demanded that owners fire them at a September 2017 campaign rally. “The owners of Respondent NFL Teams have been quoted describing their communications with President Trump, who has been an organizing force in the collusion among team owners in their conduct towards Mr. Kaepernick and other NFL players,” the filing states.
Last August, the arbitrator in the case said Kaepernick had demonstrated enough evidence to receive a full hearing.
Later, Kaepernick became the face of Nike’s 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign.
Speaking about her husband, rapper Offset, Cardi B told the AP, “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.”
Instead, Maroon 5 will go forward with the halftime show after “a lot of introspection,” according to singer Adam Levine.
Kaepernick’s attorney, Mark Geragos, wasn’t impressed with that justification, telling the news agency, “They’re saying to themselves, ‘I care more about my career than whether what I’m doing is right.’”
Last year’s halftime performance by Lady Gaga reached more than 117 million viewers, according to reports at the time.