On Sunday, the NFL finally managed to find a couple of musical artists willing to join Maroon 5 at the Super Bowl’s halftime show, specifically Travis Scott and Big Boi, with Scott in particular only agreeing to appear at the event if the NFL would make a charitable donation to an organization called the Dream Corps that supports social justice initiatives. This came after what was evidently an arduous search for the NFL, as seemingly every other performer it reached it out to turned down the job out of solidarity with former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has accused the league of blacklisting him for taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice.
As it turns out, Scott actually contacted Kaepernick before accepting the gig to talk to him about whether he should take it. That’s according to Variety, which says the two of them “did not necessarily agree” about the right course of action, but they came away “with mutual respect and understanding.” In other words, Kaepernick didn’t give Scott his blessing or anything, but he doesn’t blame him for choosing to play the halftime show. Variety’s sources say that Scott’s position was that “everyone makes a statement in their own way,” and he thought he would be able to do more good if he was able to use the Super Bowl as a platform and get some money for charity.
Since the trio of performers were confirmed, a Change.org petition has popped up asking them all to take a knee during the halftime show. The Super Bowl will happen on February 3, at which point we’ll see how—if at all—the controversy impacts the show.
UPDATE, 9:30 am CT 1/16: This morning, Nessa Diab, a radio personality on New York’s Hot 97 who has been dating Kaepernick since 2015, tweeted that Variety’s story was fabricated: