Why Was Maroon 5 Pre-Super Bowl 2019 News Conference Canceled? Criticism Mounts from Social Justice Camps

Traditionally, the Super Bowl halftime musical acts appear at a news conference to hype their forthcoming show but the NFL canceled headliner Maroon 5's conference in advance of Sunday's big game in Atlanta.

"Maroon 5 has been working hard on a Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show that will meet and exceed the standards of this event," the NFL posted on Twitter on Tuesday. "As it is about music, the artists will let their show do the talking as they prepare to take the stage this Sunday."

Instead, the NFL will run behind-the-scenes footage and content in place of the news conference.

Reportedly, Houston rapper Travis Scott and Outkast member Big Boi will not hold a press conference, either. They are slated to perform with Maroon 5 at halftime of the game between the startup Los Angeles Rams and veteran New England Patriots.

Maroon 5 did not provide a reason for its decision, but the announcement comes on the heels of criticism for the groups performing instead of boycotting the game in the name of social justice.

Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick helped start a wave of protests by kneeling during the national anthem to raise awareness to police brutality, racial inequality and other social issues. "Taking a knee" has become the byword for boycotting events, particularly the NFL.

Responding to the ongoing criticism, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine also announced they join their Interscope Records label and the NFL is donating $500,000 to Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America.

"Playing the Super Bowl has been a dream of our band for a long time," Maroon 5's Adam Levine told People. "We thank the NFL for the opportunity and also to them, along with Interscope Records, for making this donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters, which will have a major impact for children across the country."

Kaepernick has not played in the league since 2017. He alleges that the league and team owners are colluding against him over his protests against police brutality. Several artists, including Rihanna and Cardi B, declined to perform at the Super Bowl in solidarity with Kaepernick

"I think there are plenty of people—a lot of the players, to be honest—who support Kap and also do their job for the NFL," Maroon 5 keyboardist PJ Morton told People.

"I think we're doing the same thing," added Morton. "We can support being against police brutality against black and brown people and be in support of being able to peacefully protest and still do our jobs. We just want to have a good time and entertain people while understanding the important issues that are at hand. There was a lot to go into that decision."

Gladys Knight, the legendary singer, has also drawn criticism for planning to sing the national anthem before the Super Bowl. Atlanta is her home town.

"In understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things, and they are police violence and injustice," said Knight earlier in January. "It is unfortunate that our national anthem has been dragged into this debate when the distinctive sense of the national anthem and fighting for justice should each stand alone."

Earlier in January, Scott reportedly agreed to perform after the NFL co-donated $500,000 to Van Jones' Dream Corps, which champions social causes, according to Billboard.