Why Rihanna rejected Super Bowl halftime invite

Singer Rihanna turned down an offer to headline the Super Bowl halftime show because she disagrees with the way the NFL has handled Colin Kaepernick's national anthem protest, according to Us Magazine.

Posted: Oct 19, 2018 11:14 PM
Updated: Oct 19, 2018 11:16 PM

The Super Bowl halftime show was originally seen as a clever way to capitalize upon the world's biggest TV stage. For the NFL, it offered the chance to retain more of the game's audience during the extended break, and maybe increase tune-in among younger viewers. For artists, it was a massive promotional opportunity. Win-win.

Now, however, the halftime follies have become something of a hot potato -- riven by political polarization, past controversies and newer ones, including the league's stance toward quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose decision to kneel during the National Anthem has effectively ended -- at least for now -- his gridiron career.

In that respect, playing at the Super Bowl could join performing comedy at the White House Correspondents Dinner as a "thanks, but no thanks" proposition for many artists -- something that was once a lighthearted showcase, which has been complicated by politics to the point where it's not worth the headaches and risk.

Efforts to be edgy during Super Bowl performances -- a tradition that was introduced in 1991 -- were revealed to be perilous in 2004, when Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" triggered outrage and complaints to the Federal Communications Commission. In 2016, Beyoncé stirred a strong response with the racial-justice aspects of her "Formation" debut.

Since then, Beyoncé's husband, Jay-Z, reportedly passed on the opportunity to perform, later rapping in a video, "I said no to the Super Bowl: you need me, I don't need you."

Now, reports have surfaced that Rihanna has also balked at the 2019 Super Bowl, according to Us Weekly and "Entertainment Tonight," because the singer "stands with the players and Colin Kaepernick." That follows earlier reports that Maroon 5 was going to perform, which produced a separate backlash over not choosing an act with ties to host city Atlanta.

In truth, dispensing with the halftime show as a musical attraction wouldn't be much of a loss, despite the annual speculation devoted to who'll be chosen and what they'll do. As Adele noted in 2015 -- telling a crowd that she had passed on the chance to perform -- "I mean, come on, that show is not about music."

Criticism, obviously, isn't confined to politics, but attempts to be "safe" -- and avoid those landmines -- can lead to separate issues. This year, for example, Justin Timberlake's pop-tinged set drew criticism for weaving in a tribute to the late star Prince, while the Los Angeles Times panned his performance for lacking soul and having "no message."

The NFL has been nothing if not shrewd in the past about turning the Super Bowl into not only a showcase for its product, but a flag-waving, patriotic affair whose appeal went well beyond the pricey advertising. And the halftime show has produced plenty of memorable performances.

Still, the drama that now seems to inevitably go hand in hand with finding a musical act has become as much a distraction as anything else. And given the league's fumbling response to the Kaepernick situation, the question of artists debating whether they "need" the Super Bowl doesn't figure to go away anytime soon.

The Super Bowl has come to represent a lot of things, but stripped to its core, it's effectively a national holiday celebrating two American traditions that have gone hand in hand since the mid-20th century, pro football and watching television.

The league wouldn't be sacrificing a lot if it got back to that, and turned down some of the other noise.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33068

Reported Deaths: 2068
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9524558
Lake3494175
Cass15897
Allen141966
St. Joseph122134
Hendricks114268
Hamilton113292
Elkhart110128
Johnson1092106
Madison58459
Porter50522
Bartholomew49034
Clark47941
LaPorte42022
Tippecanoe3823
Howard37824
Delaware37636
Jackson3721
Shelby36822
Hancock32727
Floyd31739
Boone30535
Morgan27724
Vanderburgh2592
Montgomery23417
White2308
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Noble20421
Grant19721
Dubois1903
Harrison18921
Henry16910
Greene16824
Monroe16512
Warrick16528
Dearborn16521
Vigo1538
Lawrence15223
Miami1401
Putnam1357
Jennings1294
Orange12422
Scott1203
Ripley1106
Franklin1098
Kosciusko1011
Carroll933
Daviess8416
Steuben812
Marshall801
Newton7610
Wayne756
Fayette747
Wabash742
LaGrange682
Jasper661
Washington511
Jay490
Fulton471
Clay461
Rush452
Randolph453
Jefferson431
Pulaski410
Whitley383
Owen351
Sullivan341
DeKalb331
Brown331
Starke323
Perry280
Wells270
Benton260
Huntington262
Knox250
Tipton241
Crawford230
Blackford222
Parke190
Spencer191
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Posey160
Gibson142
Adams131
Ohio130
Warren121
Vermillion100
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0161
West Lafayette
Few Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 81°
Kokomo
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 73°
Rensselaer
Broken Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 78°
Fowler
Broken Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 78°
Williamsport
Scattered Clouds
80° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 80°
Crawfordsville
Scattered Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 75°
Frankfort
Scattered Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 78°
Delphi
Broken Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 75°
Monticello
Broken Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 75°
Logansport
Scattered Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 75°
Cooler, less humid weather ahead by the weekend.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events