Beyoncé and JAY-Z Remain Seated During the National Anthem at Super Bowl 2020
Former San Fransisco 49ers player Colin Kaepernick began the movement in 2016
Colin Kaepernick may not have been one of the players on the field at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, but the protest movement he started nearly four years ago continued at Super Bowl LIV.
When players and fans in the stands stood for the national anthem ahead of kickoff in Miami, Beyoncé, 38, JAY-Z and their 8-year-old daughter Blue Ivy notably remained seated, PEOPLE confirms, continuing Kaepernick’s legacy to raise awareness of racism and police brutality in the United States.
Beyoncé shared photos from the game on Instagram, wearing a green suit with white heels. She also posted an image of Blue Ivy jumping while on the football field.
As reported by The New York Times, the deal brought the rapper on as a “live music entertainment strategist” through his company Roc Nation.
He made a point at the time to express his interest in bringing change to the organization with a push for inclusivity.
“The NFL has a great big platform, and it has to be all-inclusive,” he told the Times of agreeing to work with the NFL and its activism arm, Inspire Change. “They were willing to do some things, to make some changes, that we can do some good.”
TMZ also reported that JAY-Z and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had spoken with Kaepernick ahead of the deal, and that its goals transcended the protests.
“I think that we forget that Colin’s whole thing was to bring attention to social injustice so in that case this is a success — this is the next thing,” JAY-Z said, per TMZ. “There’s two parts of protest: the protest, and then there’s a company or individual saying ‘I hear you, what do we do next?’ For me it’s about actionable items, what are we gonna do about it?”
Kaepernick first knelt in protest during the preseason while he was the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers — who are playing in Sunday’s Super Bowl — in 2016.
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“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he told NFL Media after that game, in which the Northern California team lost to the Green Bay Packers. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
And while the NFL released a statement at the time that said players are “encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem,” Kaepernick left the Niners in March 2017 and has not played in the NFL since.
“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody,” Kaepernick told NFL Media. “I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”
With each new season, many fans and celebrities have called for teams to sign Kaepernick, but he remains a free agent.
Last August, the athlete marked three years since he first knelt in protest, and said that he will continue his “fight for liberation.”
“Today marks the three year anniversary of the first time I protested systemic oppression,” the athlete wrote on Twitter, sharing a video compilation of footage of police brutality and family members crying on behalf of the victims. “I continue to work and stand with the people in our fight for liberation, despite those who are trying to erase the movement!”
“The movement has always lived with the people!” he wrote.
A potential comeback for Kaepernick seemed to be in the works when he held his own workout in Atlanta in November. Seven teams — including the Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Redskins, New York Jets, Tennessee Titans, San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions — reportedly attended the workout, which came after a venue change snafu with the NFL.
“I’ve been ready for three years. I’ve been denied for three years. We all know why I came out here today and showed it in front of everybody. We have nothing to hide,” Kaepernick said in a short statement afterwards.
“I’ve been ready. I’m staying ready. And I’ll continue to be ready,” he said. “To all the people that came out today to support, I appreciate y’all, I love y’all. To the people that aren’t here, I’m thinking of you, I appreciate you supporting from where you are. We’ll continue to give you updates as we hear. We’ll be waiting to hear from Roger Goodell, the NFL, 32 teams. We’ll let you know if we hear from them.”
“The ball’s in their court,” he concluded. “We’re ready to go.”
While Maroon 5 headlined last year’s halftime show, Rihanna was approached for the gig, but turned it down in solidarity with Kaepernick.
“I couldn’t dare do that,” the “Diamonds” singer told Vogue in October. “For what? Who gains from that? Not my people. I just couldn’t be a sellout. I couldn’t be an enabler. There’s things within that organization that I do not agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way.”