It was reported in September that the “Girls Like You” stars would be headlining the annual performance in February, and rumors subsequently emerged suggesting that Rihanna had been approached by National Football League (NFL) organizers to front the show, but she declined the offer to show her support for Kaepernick.
The quarterback sparked controversy in the U.S. in 2016 when he became the first NFL star to kneel during the national anthem before games as a protest against racial injustice and police brutality. He has not played for the NFL since early 2017 and is currently suing the organization, accusing them of colluding to keep him off the field.
The creator of the Change.org petition has called on Maroon 5 to follow in Rihanna's footsteps, and the page has now achieved more than 36,000 signatures.
"Until the league changes their policy and support players’ constitutional right to protest, no artists should agree to work with the NFL. Join me in asking Maroon 5 to drop out of the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show," it reads. "The band has a chance to stand on the right side of history. If they don’t, they will be remembered for choosing to side with the NFL over its players.
"Colin Kaepernick has sacrificed his NFL career to call out violent racism in America, and players across the country have followed his lead. Rihanna, Jay-Z, Amy Schumer and others have refused to work with the NFL. Maroon 5: Americans look to artists and celebrities as leaders, and you have huge opportunity to use your influence to take a stand."
JAY-Z rapped about turning down NFL's offer in 2018 song “Apes***,” his collaboration with wife Beyoncé, while comedian Amy Schumer said she was refusing to appear in any Super Bowl adverts to show her support for Kaepernick.
The 2019 Super Bowl takes places Feb. 3 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.