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It was announced earlier this year that Maroon 5 would headline the 2019 Super Bowl’s halftime show, though it appears they weren’t the organizers’ first choice. Yesterday, Us Weekly reported that Rihanna was initially offered the slot, but that the Anti singer turned it down as a show of support to Colin Kaepernick, the former 49er who was exiled from the NFL following his decision to take a knee during the national anthem as an act of protest. Rolling Stone has since confirmed the news with their own sources.

So, too, did Entertainment Tonight, who quoted a Rihanna insider as saying that “the offer and exposure would have been great for Rihanna as she’s planning a new album and tour but she stuck to what’s right in her eyes.” They added that Pink was also sought after to headline, but ultimately turned down the offer. Adam Levine must be feeling pretty awkward about now.


Us Weekly’s piece also quoted an insider. “They offered it to her, but she said no because of the kneeling controversy,” they said. “She doesn’t agree with the NFL’s stance.”

That stance, which disallows kneeling on the field but allows players to stay in the locker room during the anthem, was put on hold back in July. Kaepernick is currently engaged in a legal battle with the NFL.

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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