Later today, Maroon 5 will headline the Super Bowl Halftime Show. The performance is not without controversy, however, as the band was booked only after several other notable artists, including Rihanna, Pink, and Cardi B, passed on the opportunity in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback who was blackballed from the league after taking a knee during the National Anthem in protest of police brutality and systemic racism.
Maroon 5 have sought to quell criticism of their involvement by making a substantial charitable donation to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. However, they’ve shown no indication that they plan to get political during their performance. They previously canceled a pre-Super Bowl press conference in order to avoid answering questions about the controversy, saying instead that they’ll “let their show do the talking.”
As such, Kaepernick’s attorney, Mark Geragos, has likened Maroon 5’s performance to crossing the “picket line.” He told Good Morning America, “If you’re going to cross this idealogical or intellectual picket line, then own it, and [singer] Adam Levine certainly isn’t owning it. In fact, if anything, it’s a cop out when you start talking about, ‘I’m not a politician, I’m just doing the music.’ Most of the musicians who have any kind of consciousness whatsoever understand what’s going on here.”
Maroon 5 could still save face by adhering to the advice of Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and taking a knee at the Super Bowl. Whether or not they following through on that idea, we’ll find out later today.