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Super Bowl 53: NFL cancels Maroon 5 halftime show press conference 

Artists break with years of tradition

So much for setting the record straight.

Instead of meeting with the media on Thursday during the annual pre-game press conference to discuss their halftime show, Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Big Boi are, according to an eye-rolling release from the NFL, “going to let their show do the talking.”

The traditional gathering was canceled Tuesday night, and let’s not pretend that we don’t know why.

Even though megastars such as Lady Gaga, Madonna, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake and even Prince – who performed instead of taking questions – braved the podium over the years, none had to deal with the contentious topic of Colin Kaepernick.

All of the participating artists, as well as national anthem singer and Atlanta native Gladys Knight, have faced backlash from fans who believe the only justice for the former NFL quarterback – sidelined since 2017 over a national anthem controversy – is to boycott any NFL production.

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A change.org petition that began circulating months ago, calling for Maroon 5 to nix their Super Bowl halftime appearance, has garnered more than 111,000 signatures.  

While Scott announced that his participation was contingent upon the NFL making a sizable donation to the Dream Corps organization, both Maroon 5 and Big Boi have gone radio silent. 

Meanwhile, other performers, including Jermaine Dupri – who curated the week of free concerts at Centennial Olympic Park – and Lil Jon, who is performing with Ludacris, Migos and other Atlanta rappers Thursday night at State Farm Arena, have discussed their decision to participate in Super Bowl events frequently and candidly. Gladys Knight also explained eloquently why she decided to sing the national anthem before the game. 

Here is the full statement from the NFL regarding the canceled presser. 

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About the Author

Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers music and entertainment news for the AJC. She remembers when MTV was awesome.  

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