Rihanna 'turned down' Super Bowl 2019 halftime show in show of support for Colin Kaepernick

Roisin O'Connor

Maroon 5 were revealed to be headline the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show over a month ago, but it seems the US pop-rock band weren't the NFL's first pick.

Rihanna was reportedly approached with an invitation to perform – but declined in a show of support for former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick became a figurehead for protests against racial inequality and injustice in the US after he began kneeling during the national anthem at NFL games during the 2016 season. He alleges that he was blacklisted from NFL teams as a result of his stance.

He has since been chosen as the face of Nike's "Just Do It" campaign, which featured ads with Kaepernick's face and the quote: "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything."

"The NFL and CBS really wanted Rihanna to be next year's performer in Atlanta," a source reportedly told Us Weekly. "They offered it to her, but she said no because of the kneeling controversy. She doesn't agree with the NFL's stance."

The Independent has contacted Rihanna's representative for comment.

Rihanna has been in the studio working on her new album, which is apparently going to be heavily reggae-inspired. She recently accepted a new ambassadorial role from Barbados, which she will use to promote education, tourism and investment.

The artist, whose real name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, accepted the honour and said she "couldn't be more proud to take on the new role".

Prime minister Mia Amor Mottley said in a statement: "Rihanna has a deep love for this country and this is reflected in her philanthropy, especially in areas of health and education. She also shows her patriotism in the way she gives back ot this country and continues to treasure the island as her home."

The 2019 Super Bowl will take place on 3 February at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.