The Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots are the two teams fighting to claim the 53rd Super Bowl title this year. Recently, America’s National Football League – known as the NFL – has courted controversy over ‘taking the knee’. This is a particular kind of protest by NFL players and has this year resulted in several artists choosing to boycott the football celebration. While this started in 2016, little has changed, and players are still using the peaceful protest in most NFL games, not just at the Super Bowl.
What is ‘taking the knee’?
Taking the knee was first established by NFL legend Colin Kaepernick in 2016 when he protested at NFL games by choosing to sit on the bench for the National Anthem.
In order to make a more visible protest, Kaepernick decided to take a knee alongside his teammates, and some of them followed suit.
This was a protest against police brutality towards black people in the United States.
More specifically, this was due to several videos which have shown brutal killings and violence by police against African American people.
During one press conference, the free agent player opened up about his choices to kneel for the anthem.
He said: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of colour.
“To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.
“There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
His actions drew harsh criticism from key figures, most notably President Donald Trump.
He said he would “love” to see owners fire their players for ‘disrespecting’ the flag.
Mr Trump said: “You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’
“And that owner, they don’t know it [but] they’ll be the most popular person in this country.”
Why are artists boycotting the Super Bowl?
This year, the controversy is surrounding artists who have chosen to boycott the famed Super Bowl halftime show.
Rihanna was tipped to headline the event this year but declined, citing Kaepernick’s original protest.
After her, Pink was approached to headline, and she followed suit in declining the NFL.
Maroon 5 has been confirmed to headline the show this year, but people are already calling for them to back out, and there is a petition with more than 110,000 signatures of Change.org requesting this.