Over 85,000 people have signed a Change.org petition asking Super Bowl performers Maroon 5, Big Boi, and Travis Scott to take a knee during their halftime set in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick and his ongoing fight with the NFL. The petition, originally started in November with the goal of convincing Maroon 5 to cancel their set, it was updated after the official announcement of the performers.
The petition’s creator is Vic Oyedeji, founder of Unstrippedvoice, a website with the stated mission of “promoting economic, social & racial equity.” He told Billboard: “I have nothing against [Maroon 5]. This isn’t about them and they just got caught in the crossfire. I’m saying the only way for them to preserve their reputation is to take a knee during their set to show the hundreds of millions of people watching their solidarity with Colin Kaepernick and the players who are protesting police brutality.”
Oyedeji is referring to the former 49ers quarterback’s headline-grabbing protest in 2016, when he protested by refusing to stand for the national anthem. After receiving some initial backlash, he switched to kneeling, which was deemed more respectful. However, after his protest spread throughout the league and drew negative attention from some media and even Donald Trump himself, Kaepernick believes the NFL’s teams colluded in keeping him from receiving offers to play for them in retaliation.
In response, some fans boycotted the league, while reportedly, many prominent stars including Cardi B, Jay-Z, and Rihanna all turned down the offer to perform at the Super Bowl. Travis Scott also reportedly only agreed to the show on the condition that the NFL make a donation of $500,000 to social justice causes. Meanwhile, another petition to get the Spongebob Squarepants song “Sweet Victory” performed instead has over a million signatures.