It’s rumored that Maroon 5 will be playing the Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show in 2019, but apparently, the rock group wasn’t the NFL’s first choice. Allegedly, two superstar women — Rihanna and Pink — turned down the opportunity first, which is a loss not just for the NFL but for fans who tune in to watch these legendary performances each year.
On Thursday, Us Weekly reported that Rihanna turned down offers from the NFL to headline at halftime. According to a source, “The NFL and CBS really wanted Rihanna to be next year’s performer in Atlanta. They offered it to her, but she said no because of the kneeling controversy. She doesn’t agree with the NFL’s stance.”
Entertainment Weekly‘s source said Rihanna was “the front-runner” for the halftime show, but “after thinking about the offer, [she] decided to pass.” They said Rihanna “stands with the players and Colin Kaepernick. The offer and exposure would have been great for Rihanna as she’s planning a new album and tour, but she stuck to what’s right in her eyes.”
Meanwhile, ET also reported that Pink walked away from negotiations to perform, not for political reasons but because reaching an agreement was taking too long. She performed the national anthem ahead of the 2018 Super Bowl. The same source who told ET about Pink claimed that Rihanna also walked away from the opportunity because negotiations were taking too long — the source said that Kaepernick wasn’t a consideration at all.
Ahead of Super Bowl LII, Pink Instagrammed a photo of her national anthem rehearsal, which was tough because she had the flu. “I will tell you, this is one of the biggest honors of my life, singing this song in front of my family, my military family, my dad and brother and step mama and family and the world. And the EAGLES!?!?!” she wrote. “I promise I will do my best, as I always do.”
Although Maroon 5 is reportedly playing next year’s halftime show, the band, the NFL and Super Bowl sponsor Pepsi have yet to make a formal announcement. Whatever happens, we’ll always wonder what a Rihanna or Pink halftime show would have looked like.