NFL cancels Maroon 5's Super Bowl news conference amid backlash from music world

Maroon 5 reportedly wasn’t the NFL’s first choice for the Super Bowl halftime show this year. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Maroon 5 reportedly wasn’t the NFL’s first choice for the Super Bowl halftime show this year. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Maroon 5 will not be taking any questions before it takes the stage for the Super Bowl LIII halftime show on Sunday. You can probably imagine why.

The NFL announced the band will not hold the event’s annual news conference this year, replacing it with a “cross-platform rollout of behind-the-scenes footage and content from each of our halftime performers.”

Why did the NFL cancel Maroon 5’s Super Bowl press conference?

Taken at face value, the NFL’s statement indicates the musical acts “will let their show do the talking,” and, sure, maybe the league just doesn’t want to do a news conference that is typically more silly than substantial.

Then again, this year’s Super Bowl halftime show has seen an unusually large amount of politicization from the music world thanks to the league’s treatment of Colin Kaepernick. Rihanna reportedly turned down doing the show in solidarity with Kaepernick, and she wasn’t the only musician to do so. Other famous artists have reportedly lobbied rapper Travis Scott to pull out of the act, with that group including Jay-Z, Common, Nick Cannon and Meek Mill.

Maroon 5 has certainly heard the backlash, which the band’s keyboardist addressed a few weeks ago, saying that the size of the stage made it all worth it. From the Associated Press:

“This is definitely a controversial year, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do my whole life. As musician it’s the biggest stage you could ever play,” he said.

“Our job as musicians is to provide a service and make people feel good, and I think that’s going to be our mission — just to have a good time and do what we do,” he added. “I’m excited to play on that stage, man. I watched halftime shows my whole life. I want to be there.”

Couple all that with a petition urging Maroon 5 to drop out of the show that received nearly 50,000 signatures, and, well, you can see why the NFL might be interested in limiting news coverage of the show until the actual show. Switching from a news conference to an array of in-house media carries the obvious benefit of not exposing the band to pesky questions from independent reporters.

It all might be for the best anyway, because, after all, there’s no way Maroon 5 was going to top Prince’s news conference.

Maroon 5, Travis Scott make matching $500k donations with NFL

Perhaps not coincidentally, the NFL chose the day it canceled Maroon 5’s news conference as the same day it announced a $500,000 donation with Maroon 5 and Interscope Records to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, per People.

That donation comes two weeks after the league made a similar donation of $500,000 with Scott to Dream Corps, a non-profit that champions social justice causes.

“I back anyone who takes a stand for what they believe in,” Scott previously said in a statement to PEOPLE. “I know being an artist that it’s in my power to inspire. So before confirming the Super Bowl Halftime performance, I made sure to partner with the NFL on this important donation. I am proud to support Dream Corps and the work they do that will hopefully inspire and promote change.”

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