Legendary soul singer Gladys Knight will sing the National Anthem during Super Bowl LIII — and she’s hoping to reclaim the patriotic song from Colin Kaepernick and the NFL kneelers.
Knight, an icon who actually lived through the civil rights movement, blasted Kaepernick’s decision to drag the national anthem into his protest in response to a question from Variety.
“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,” she wrote.
She continued; “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.”
Knight went on to express her deep desire for her performance of the National Anthem will bring Americans of all colors together on Super Bowl Sunday.
“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,” she added. “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.”
The odds of any player taking a knee and disrespecting the larger-than-life legend are slim to none.
Kaepernick started his national anthem protest years ago, prompting several other NFL players to follow his lead. His protest was wildly unpopular with most Americans.
His mediocre play made it hard for him to find a new NFL team and he eventually was forced into retirement. He is now known more for his activism than his football skills.