Confirmed halftime acts Maroon 5, Big Boi and Travis Scott are facing increased scrutiny as Super Bowl LIII nears in Atlanta on Feb. 3.
North Carolina native Vic Oyedeji’s Change.org petition is calling for the performers to take a knee during their halftime set as a show of support for former NFL player Colin Kaepernick, who kneeled during the national anthem in 2016 as a way to protest racism and police brutality.
“This is the perfect opportunity for the artists to redeem themselves,” Oyedeji said. “…The reason why Colin Kaepernick took a knee is a very, very noble one. And it should never be forgotten.”
For Oyedeji, the #TakeAKnee movement hits close to home. He knew Terrence Crutcher, the unarmed 40-year-old who was shot and killed by Oklahoma police officer Betty Shelby during a traffic stop that was captured on video in 2016. The officer involved was acquitted.
“I left my job, went into my car, saw the video. Then, I actually cried in the car for like five minutes, got out the car then went back to work like nothing happened,” he said. “It was like business as usual. But it was from that moment on in 2016, that was when I was like … I’ve seen marches before with Eric Garner and Travon Martin and people like that. But this one actually hit personally with me, and I was like ‘something has to change’.”
Since the petition started in October, Oyedeji said he’s pivoted the message when Big Boi and Travis Scott joined the halftime lineup from calling for Maroon 5 to not perform to instead have the acts take a knee.
The petition is close to its goal of garnering 150,000 signatures. More than 114,000 people who have signed already, as of Saturday morning.
The overarching goals of the petition are for Colin Kaepernick to get signed back into the NFL and for the owners to issue an apology, Oyedeji said. He also wants for people globally to recognize what Kaepernick stands for.
“The original message was about police brutality, which is the issue that’s affected people of color for many decades,” he said.