Newly in charge of the NFL’s music events including the halftime show, it was a given Jay-Z (real name Shawn Carter) would attend Super Bowl LIV, held on Sunday (February 2, 2020) in Miami. Jay was shown prior to kick off on the field with his first-born daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, and later was spotted watching the game with his spouse, Beyoncé, in the stands.
News outlets were quick to note that the couple chose not to stand during Demi Lovato‘s performance of the national anthem with cameras showing the couple along with other nearby fans sitting while their daughter recorded the event on her phone.
Following the news, social media quickly filled with critical comments from some of the NFL’s more conservative fan base. As of now, the couple hasen’t made any comment on their decision to stay seated.
The mini-protest matters because Jay’s partnership has been viewed by many as a betrayal of ex-NFL player Colin Kaepernick who is widely viewed as blackballed by the league for kneeling during the national anthem as a protest against social injustice particularly against black people.
Kaepernick began kneeling during the 2016 season and continued to do so until January 2017 in his final game as a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. While Kaepernick publicly has stated an interest in playing professionally again, he hasn’t been picked up by any teams despite being viewed as capapable.
Outside the Super Bowl, Kaepernick supporters let it be known they were boycotting the event with a graphic swapping out the NFL’s logo with the word “NAH.”
The 32-year-old Kaepernick and his girlfriend, Hot 97 radio host Nessa Diab, weighed in on the power couple’s decision to sit out the national anthem on Instagram Stories where they reposted news coverage of the couple sitting overwritten with the question, “I thought we were past kneeling tho?”
The question is a cynical reference to the August 2019 press conference announcing Jay and the NFL’s partnership where the 48-year-old business mogul was asked how the partnership squared with his prior public support of Kaepernick. Jay responded, “I think we’ve moved past kneeling. I think it’s time for action,” a response he was widely derided for.
Check out Beyoncé’s Instagram Super Bowl image below, along with video of the couple sitting and Diab’s response.