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Why Rihanna Turned Down Super Bowl Halftime Show Offer: After Kaepernick, 'I Just Couldn't Be a Sellout'

After nearly a full year of speculation, Rihanna has confirmed that she “absolutely” rejected the NFL’s offer for her to perform during the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show.

In a new interview with Vogue, the singer says she made the decision in solidarity with former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick, whose peaceful protesting of police brutality went largely unsupported by the organization. Kaepernick even filed a grievance against the NFL, alleging that it conspired to keep him from playing in the league.

“I couldn’t dare do that,” Rihanna says. “For what? Who gains from that? Not my people. I just couldn’t be a sellout. I couldn’t be an enabler. There’s things within that organization that I do not agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way.”

The gig ultimately went to Maroon 5, with an assist from Travis Scott and Big Boi. When asked why he accepted the NFL’s offer, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine said, “No one thought about it more than I did. No one put more thought and love into this than I did. … I spoke to many people. Most importantly, though, I silenced all the noise and listened to myself, and made my decision about how I felt.”

While there’s no way of knowing whether Rihanna will eventually take the Super Bowl stage in the future, we do know which stars will be performing in 2020: The NFL recently announced that Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will co-headline the big show in February.

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