Gladys Knight’s decision to sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl has stirred controversy.
The legendary singer is being criticized for agreeing to take the gig in light of some fans boycotting the National Football League over its treatment of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick has not been hired by an NFL team since he found himself at the center of debate for taking a knee at games during the National Anthem in protest of racial injustice.
The NFL announced Thursday that Knight would be performing at Super Bowl LIII, which is being held in her hometown.
She also tweeted the news.
“Atlanta, I’m coming home! #NFL #SBLIII,” Knight said.
The backlash was swift.
“@Kaepernick7 lost his @NFL career fighting for black social justice, where is the solidarity?,” one person tweeted. “So if this is true @MsGladysKnight has just been added to the long list of other #muted artists…”
But Knight did receive some support.
“How are people cancelling Gladys Knight for performing at the Super Bowl this year but they still plan on WATCHING the Super Bowl this year?” one person tweeted. “How does that work.”
Knight released a statement to Variety saying, “I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things, and they are police violence and injustice.
“It is unfortunate that our National Anthem has been dragged into this debate when the distinctive senses of the National Anthem and fighting for justice should each stand alone,” the statement said.
“I am here today and on Sunday, (February 3), to give the Anthem back its voice, to stand for that historic choice of words, the way it unites us when we hear it and to free it from the same prejudices and struggles I have fought long and hard for all my life, from walking back hallways, from marching with our social leaders, from using my voice for good – I have been in the forefront of this battle longer than most of those voicing their opinions to win the right to sing our country’s Anthem on a stage as large as the Super Bowl LIII.”
The NFL previously announced that Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Big Boi will be the halftime show entertainment.