The Super Bowl is reportedly having trouble finding acts who will play with its feature attraction, Maroon 5, for the halftime show.
According to numerous reports, artists are reluctant to take part in the 13-minute production because of the controversy concerning blacklisted former footballer Colin Kaepernick and the NFL’s stance on a player’s right to protest.
Kaepernick has been out of the league since 2016 after he kneeled during the national anthem in response to police brutality and social injustice.
According to sources, the band has reached out to more than a half-dozen stars to appear as featured guests during the 13-minute slot midway through Super Bowl LIII, but so far, none have agreed to do it. Among those considering the appearance are Cardi B, … and Andre Benjamin, AKA Andre 3000 of beloved local act Outkast. Others – like Mary J. Blige – had been approached but faced scheduling conflicts; still more, like Usher, Lauryn Hill and Nicki Minaj, who performed at the 2012 Super Bowl with Madonna, are names rumored to be in the mix.
Maroon 5 is facing pressure to decline the NFL’s offer to perform at halftime. A Change.org petition has more than 72,000 signatures of people who want the group to cancel its appearance.
One PR player, Howard Bragman of LaBrea Media, discussed the situation with Variety:
“If other networks smell a weaker show, they’re gonna be counter-programming, so you have to come out really strong.” But considering the location and the still-lingering outcry by celebrities like Amy Schumer to boycott the Super Bowl, “there’s no question it’s going to be a challenge” for Maroon 5, he adds, though Bragman has some suggestions. “They could put a 500-person choir there or find one made up of local kids,” he offers. “Regardless, it has to be diverse. That’s who the audience is and that’s the world we live in.”
The game will be played in Atlanta on Feb. 3.