Empress of Soul, Gladys Knight has shared her stance on the NFL’s treatment of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick after announcing she will be singing the national anthem at Super Bowl LIII.
Kaepernick garnered national attention and sparked dialogue in 2016 for not standing during the anthem as a way of protesting police brutality and social inequality. He was subsequently banished from professional football and has not played professionally since 2016.
Knight, who is an Atlanta native and civil rights advocate, said in a statement to Variety that “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’s statement 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.”
“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.”
She added that she prays the national anthem “will bring us all together in a way never before witnessed and we can move forward.”
By Oluwatoyin Adeleye
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