The Superbowl took place in Atlanta, Georgia last night, where the New England Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3; winning a record-breaking sixth Superbowl. But while the game is often seen as one of the biggest events of the year in the US, 2019’s edition was shadowed by bigger controversies.
A number of high-profile celebrities have publicly boycotted the Superbowl this year, in protest against the National Football League’s (NFL) treatment of football player Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick became a public figure in 2016, when he used his position as the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers to protest racial inequality and police brutality, and famously chose to kneel instead of stand for the national anthem at NFL games. Kaepernick was dropped from his team and has remained unsigned to any NFL team since 2016.
The hashtag #ImWithKap began trending last night, as many celebrities voiced their anger at the treatment Kaepernick has received for the past three years. Prolific black celebrities including director Ava DuVernay, rapper Common and basketball player LeBron James all took to social media to support Kaepernick; also showing their intent to not watch or participate in the Superbowl celebrations.
I will not be a spectator, viewer or supporter of the #SuperBowl today in protest of the @NFL’s racist treatment of @Kaepernick7 and its ongoing disregard for the health + well-being of all its players. To watch the game is to compromise my beliefs. It’s not worth it. #ImWithKap pic.twitter.com/fNEeke0crs
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) February 3, 2019
— COMMON (@common) February 3, 2019
The half-time show
The half-time show, which is famously almost as big an attraction as the football itself, saw Maroon 5, Big Boi and Travis Scott take to the stage. But the trio of acts were not the first choice for the show; singers Rihanna and Pink were reportedly approached to headline, but declined as an act of support for Colin Kaepernick.
Rapper Cardi B was also asked to perform, but she publicly declined the invitation as a protest against the NFL. Speaking to the Associated Press, Cardi said:
“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.”
Featured image: kaepernick7.com via Instagram