Gladys Knight Blasts Colin Kaepernick Ahead of Singing Anthem At Super Bowl

Despite some backlash for her decision, Gladys Knight is defending her upcoming appearance at Super Bowl LIII, releasing a statement in response to Variety on Friday.

The Award-winning songstress and Atlanta native is on tap to be the National Anthem singer for the biggest game of the year, but she faced a bit of backlash for participating despite former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protests of racial injustice during the national anthem in 2016.

“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,” Knight said Friday.

Knight continued in her statement…

“I am here today and on Sunday, Feb. 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.”

“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.”

Multiple recording artists such as Rihanna and Cardi B declined to participate in the festivities in support of Colin Kaepernick, who still has a lawsuit against the league that accuses the NFL and the owners of colluding against him to keep him out because of his stance in 2016.