Adam Levine talks Super Bowl controversy: 'We expected it and we'd like to move on'

Adam Levine addresses Super Bowl controversy ahead of halftime show (Exclusive)

Following months of silence, Adam Levine has finally addressed Maroon 5‘s controversial decision to play the Super Bowl LIII halftime show this Sunday (Feb. 3).

The Moves Like Jagger group have been a target of online criticism since they were rumoured to headline the annual event back in September.

The NFL is taking the brunt of the heat, however, after locking out former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick from the league.

The 31-year-old chose to kneel during the national anthem on a number of occasions, merely as an act of protest against racial profiling, inequity and police brutality.

A number of musicians, including Rihanna and Cardi B chose to stand with Kaepernick as a response to the NFL — both rejected offers to perform this year.

Levine, 39, dubbed it “the biggest gig in the game” to Entertainment Tonight in an interview on Thursday.

“I’m not in the right profession if I can’t handle a little bit of controversy,” he said. “It is what it is. We expected it and we’d like to move on from it.”

Adam Levine (L) and James Valentine of Maroon 5 pose for pictures in New York on Oct. 31, 2017.

Adam Levine (L) and James Valentine of Maroon 5 pose for pictures in New York on Oct. 31, 2017.

Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

READ MORE: Maroon 5 cancels Super Bowl halftime press conference

In regards to the heaps of backlash, Levine admitted that he chose to “silence all the noise,” listen to himself and make his decision based on how he felt afterwards. “No one thought about it harder than I did,” he added, admitting it was not an easy decision.

The Payphone singer said the decision to play the Super Bowl essentially came down to just wanting to play music.

“The spectacle is music,” he said. “The way that we speak, emote and perform is through the music.”

When asked why Maroon 5 chose to cancel their pre-game press conference, Levine revealed that it was the NFL’s decision. “The NFL cancelled the press conference, you’ll have to speak with them,” he told ET reporter Kevin Frazier with a smile.

The frontman wasn’t afraid to include his own personal input either:

“I think that when you look back at every single halftime show, people just this insatiable urge to hate a little bit.”

“No one put more thought and love into this than I did,” Levine concluded.

Colin Kaepernick at the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal Award Ceremony at Harvard University on Oct. 11, 2018, in Cambridge, Mass.

Colin Kaepernick at the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal Award Ceremony at Harvard University on Oct. 11, 2018, in Cambridge, Mass.

Paul Marotta/Getty Images

READ MORE: Super Bowl petition asks Maroon 5, other halftime performers to take a knee

Astroworld rapper Travis Scott and Outkast’s Big Boi were further announced as performers set to join Maroon 5 onstage this Sunday.

Because of the NFL’s actions against Kaepernick, an online petition was launched late last year by North Carolina resident, Vic Oyedeji. The petition pleaded Maroon 5 to reject the offer to play the 53rd annual halftime show.

The change.org petition pulled in more than 85,000 signatures across the globe.

It’s been widely speculated that the NFL cancelled the pre-show press conference to avoid any mention of sensitive subject matter and the surrounding controversy.

Adam Levine (L) and James Valentine of Maroon 5 perform at the iHeartRadio Theater on Nov. 7, 2017, in Burbank, Calif.

Adam Levine (L) and James Valentine of Maroon 5 perform at the iHeartRadio Theater on Nov. 7, 2017, in Burbank, Calif.

Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

READ MORE: Maroon 5 set to play Super Bowl halftime show, and football fans aren’t too pleased

Oyedeji demanded that the musicians “take a knee” during their performance, citing that it’s the only way “they can truly redeem” themselves.

“Show the millions of people watching that you stand in solidarity with Kaepernick and all players who protest police brutality,” Oyedeji wrote.

Former Pink Floyd frontman and social activist Roger Waters, also reached out to the Maroon 5 camp on Thursday. He included a video of himself kneeling with the rest of his band rather than bowing after a performance in Hartford, Conn., in late 2017.

“This is my band taking a knee at the end of a gig,” he wrote. “We did it in solidarity with as a gesture of protest against the endemic racism and often deadly force meted out by police departments across this land.”

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There is a petition at change.org/takeaknee aimed at persuading @maroon5, @travisscott and @bigboi to #takeaknee at halftime on Sunday: This is my band taking a knee at the end of a gig in Hartford, Connecticut on Sunday 24th of September 2017. We did it in solidarity with San Francisco Quarterback @kaepernick7 gesture of protest against the endemic racism and often deadly force meted out by police departments across this land. 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. You can sit in your boardrooms and huff and puff on your cigars in your glass boxes, but your action is a poke in the eye for everything that is decent in America. Colin Kaepernick is an American hero. If the USA is to have a future, it is the Colin Kaepernicks of this world who will lead you there, in fact, it is Colin Kaepernick who is leading you now. My colleagues Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Big Boi are performing during the halftime show at the Super-bowl this coming Sunday, 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. My mother used to say to me, “In any situation there is nearly always a right thing to do, just do it.” So, there you go my brothers, you are faced with a choice, I’m not saying it will be easy, all the Presidents men, all the huffers and puffers, will be royally pissed off, but, $#@%’em, I call upon you to do it because it’s the right thing to do and because somewhere inside you know it. Love Roger Waters

A post shared by Roger Waters (@rogerwaters) on

“My colleagues Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Big Boi are performing during the halftime show at the Super-bowl this coming Sunday,” he added. “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.”

“The message was clear, ‘Shut your mouth, boy!'”

“Next Sunday will be the 36th Sunday has been locked out of your national game,” he continued. “This is not a victory for the NFL, it is a defeat. Colin Kaepernick is an American hero.”

In essence, Waters, 75, offered this year’s halftime show performers an ultimatum:

“You are faced with a choice. I’m not saying it will be easy. All the President’s men, the huffers and puffers, will be royally p**sed off, but f**k ’em.”

“I call upon you to do it because it’s the right thing to do and because somewhere inside you know it,” Waters concluded.

Roger Waters during a press conference in Quito, Ecuador, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2018.

Roger Waters during a press conference in Quito, Ecuador, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2018.

Franklin Jácome/Pressouth/NurPhoto via Getty Images

READ MORE: How the NFL blew it with the Super Bowl halftime show: Alan Cross

The New England Patriots take on the Los Angeles Rams in Atlanta, Ga., at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium this Sunday.

Super Bowl LIII will air live on Feb. 3 at 6:30 p.m. ET.

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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