- The Washington Times - Friday, February 1, 2019

Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters has urged musicians performing at the Super Bowl halftime show Sunday to “‘take a knee’ on stage” to show support for quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his crusade for social justice.

Mr. Waters, 75, made the plea in a written statement he shared on social media alongside a video that showed him and his bandmates kneeling on stage following a September 2017 concert in Hartford, Connecticut.

“We did it in solidarity with San Francisco Quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s gesture of protest against the endemic racism and often deadly force meted out by police departments across this land,” Mr. Waters recalled. “It was the third Sunday of Colin Kaepernick’s lock out by the NFL. The message was clear, ‘Shut your mouth, boy!’ Next Sunday will be the 36th Sunday he has been locked out of your national game. This is not a victory for the NFL, it is a defeat, you have denied football fans everywhere the pleasure and the honor of watching one of the greatest quarterbacks who ever played the game, and you have shown your true colors.”

“My colleagues Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Big Boi are performing during the halftime show at the Super-bowl this coming Sunday,” Mr. Waters continued. “I call upon them to ‘take a knee’ on stage in full sight. I call upon them to do it in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, to do it for every child shot to death on these mean streets, to do it for every bereaved mother and father and brother and sister.”

The statement called Mr. Kaepernick “an American hero” and was signed, “Love, Roger Waters.”

Mr. Kaepernick, 31, kneeled in protest when the U.S. national anthem was played at the start of professional football games during the 2016 season, causing a nationwide controversy that culminated in his split from the San Francisco 49ers the following year. He has remained a free agent ever since and is currently suing the National Football League for allegedly keeping him off the field for political reasons.

A Grammy Award-winning pop band, Maroon 5 is slated to perform during Sunday’s championship game along with Scott, a 26-year-old rap artist born Jacques Berman Webster, and “Big Boi” Antwan André Patton, half of the acclaimed hip-hop duo Outkast. Several other major artists turned down offers to perform prior to the final acts being announced, however, citing Mr. Kaepernick and the controversy his protests caused.

“She said no because of the kneeling controversy. She doesn’t agree with the NFL’s stance,” a representative for singer Rihanna told US Weekly, the outlet reported. Another artist, Cardi B, “was not particularly interested in participating because of how she feels about Colin Kaepernick and the whole movement,” one of her representatives said late last year.

Maroon 5 had been expected to discuss the gig during a press conference held on Thursday this week prior to canceling the band’s appearance two days earlier.

“As it is about music, the artists will let their show do the talking as they prepare to take the stage this Sunday,” the NFL said in a statement Tuesday.

Mr. Waters co-founded Pink Floyd in 1965 and left the group 20 years later. The group’s 1973 record “The Dark Side of the Moon” is considered one of the bestselling albums in recording history, and Mr. Waters and his former bandmates were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the U.K. Hall of Fame in 1996 and 2005, respectively.

He remains active as a solo artist, performing live in at least 20 countries during 2018, and as an advocate for various political causes as well.

Mr. Waters has been a strong supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israeli occupation of the West Bank since at least 2009, and late last year he met with Amazonian settlers in Ecuador affected by oil pollution.

He has also been a vocal critic of President Trump, having previously likened him to late Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, in addition to the U.S. government’s investigation into WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange.

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