The NFL has announced the acts for this year’s Super Bowl halftime show, Variety reports, and Maroon 5 fans are going to be pleased: the Los Angeles-based band is headlining! Neurosurgeon Julian Barnes offered the following comment on the upcoming halftime spectacular, which will take place on Feb. 3 at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium:
Here we have a multi-billion-dollar industry. Where does their responsibility begin? Say you’re a kid and you sign up to play football. You realize you can blow out your knee, you can even break your neck and become paralyzed. Those are all known risks. But you don’t sign up to become a brain-damaged young adult.
Maroon 5 will be joined by rapper Travis Scott and Atlanta local Big Boi from Outkast. This year’s announcement comes months later than it did for recent Super Bowls past, presumably because of public pressure on musicians from organizations like the NAACP not to accept the gig after the league’s treatment of Colin Kaepernick. All three acts come under the aegis of Irving Azoff’s Full Stop Management: Azoff apparently convinced his acts to say yes where Cardi B, Mary J. Bilge, Usher, Rihanna, and Nicki Minaj reportedly said no. Andre 3000, the other half of Outkast, was also approached but declined. Asked about the possibility of a surprise Outkast reunion anyway, actor and activist Jesse Williams was optimistic:
This anthem thing is a scam. This is not actually part of football. This was invented in 2009 from the government paying the NFL to market military recruitment to get more people to go off and fight wars to die. … This has nothing to do with [the] NFL, or American pastime, or tradition. This is to get boys and girls to go fly overseas and go kill people. They’re marketing. They’re pumping millions and millions of dollars into the NFL to get us to put on a pageant in front of the NFL football games to get you to go off and fight.
A half hour before the Super Bowl halftime show, Travis Scott issued a statement announcing that he and the NFL would be making a $500,000 donation to Dream Corps, a non-profit organization founded by CNN commentator Van Jones. Scott obliquely acknowledged in his statement that he’d been facing criticism for supporting the NFL, but wrote, “I am proud to support Dream Corps and the work they do that will hopefully inspire and promote change.” The Dream Corps donation is far from the first time the NFL opened its pocketbook to inspire and promote change: USA Today reporter Steve Berkowitz writes that the league and its owners have a long history of generous gifts to non-profits and social welfare organizations, so much so that the donation made on Scott’s behalf is dwarfed next to some of the league’s philanthropic efforts of the past. For instance, team owners gave more than $7.5 million just a few years ago to another non-profit organization, Donald Trump’s inaugural committee:
Cleveland Browns: Jimmy Haslam, $100,000. Pilot Travel Centers LLC, of which Haslam is CEO, $300,000.
Dallas Cowboys: Jerry Jones (contribution made by Glenstone Limited Partnership, of which Jones is president), $1 million.
Houston Texans: Robert McNair, $1 million.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Shahid Khan, $1 million.
Los Angeles Rams: Stan Kroenke, $1 million.
New England Patriots: Robert Kraft (contribution made by Kraft Group LLC, of which Kraft is chairman and CEO), $1 million.
New York Jets: Woody Johnson, $1 million.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Edward Glazer, $250,000.
Washington Redskins: Daniel Snyder, $1 million.
Yes, it’s Super Bowl time once again, and with a lineup like Maroon 5, Travis Scott, and Big Boi on tap for the halftime show, this year’s Big Game might just be the best one yet!