Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, who had seemed to be avoiding questions about performing at Sunday’s Super Bowl halftime show, said he “silenced all the noise and listened to myself” to decide to accept the controversial gig.
“No one thought about it more than I did,” Levine told “Entertainment Tonight” Thursday in his only interview before the Super Bowl. “I spoke to many people. Most importantly though, I silenced all the noise and listened to myself, and made my decision about how I felt.”
The band, which will be joined by rappers Big Boi and Travis Scott at the halftime show in Atlanta, has faced backlash for accepting the gig from fans angered by the NFL’s attempts to stifle players protesting racism and police brutality, led by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
The issue of players kneeling during the national anthem at NFL games has become a stand-in for larger cultural divisions. President Donald Trump has regularly weighed in on the issue against protesting players, using it to stoke a culture war and rally his political base.
A number of high-profile artists reportedly turned down invitations to perform at the usually coveted halftime show this year — including Rihanna and Cardi B — because of their support for Kaepernick.
Maroon 5 and the NFL this week canceled the band’s pre-Super Bowl press conference, a tradition for the halftime show performers, in what appeared to be an attempt to steer clear of questions about the controversy.
Levine told “Entertainment Tonight” he and the band “expected” some controversy, with people’s “insatiable urge to hate a little bit.” He wouldn’t directly talk about the player protests, saying the band wants to “speak through the music” and just perform “without becoming politicians.”
We are going to do what we keep on doing, hopefully without becoming politicians and continuing to use the one voice we know how to use properly. When you look back on every single Super Bowl halftime show, people just can’t ― it’s this, like, insatiable urge to hate a little bit. I’m not in the right profession if I can’t handle a little bit of controversy. It’s what it is. We expected it. We would like to move on from it, and, like I said earlier, speak through the music.