This year's Super Bowl opener and halftime show have been plagued with controversy. Entertainers who agree to perform are catching heat from leftists who claim their attendance is a slight to former NFL quarterback and national anthem-kneeler Colin Kaepernick.
But at least one star, Gladys Knight, is not backing down. The legendary singer has confirmed that she will sing the national anthem before Sunday's game and has outright rejected the idea that the anthem has any connection to Kaepernick's activist causes. To Knight, the song should be a unifying force for all Americans.
"I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things and they are police violence and injustice," said the 74-year-old in a statement, according to TMZ. "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."
"I am here today and on Sunday, Feb. 3 to give the Anthem back its voice," declared Knight, "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," she added. "No matter who chooses to deflect with this narrative and continue to mix these two in the same message, it is not so and cannot be made so by anyone speaking it."
"I pray that this National Anthem will bring us all together in a way never before witnessed and we can move forward and untangle these truths which mean so much to all of us," said Knight.
The singer reiterated her pro-anthem stance on The Today Show on Friday, again noting that her performance would be an opportunity to bring unity in the country.
As reported by The Daily Wire’s Hank Berrien on Thursday, Pink Floyd's co-lead vocalist Roger Waters implored halftime performers to take a knee during their shows as a nod to Kaepernick.
"There is a petition on Change.org aimed at persuading Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Big Boi to take a knee at halftime on Sunday," wrote Waters. "This is my band taking a knee at the end of a gig in Hartford, Connecticut on Sunday 24th of September 2017. We did it in solidarity with San Francisco Quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s gesture of protest against the endemic racism and often deadly force meted out by police departments across this land. It was the third Sunday of Colin Kaepernick’s lock out by the NFL. The message was clear, 'Shut your mouth, boy!'"
"Colin Kaepernick is an American hero," he added. "If the USA is to have a future, it is the Colin Kaepernicks of this world who will lead you there, in fact, it is Colin Kaepernick who is leading you now."
Kaepernick took a knee during the 2016 season soon after his career in the league began to tank. The former 49er said of his national anthem-kneeling: "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color." The athlete also wore socks to practice which depicted police officers as pigs.
H/t The Blaze