Atlanta fought hard to be recognized on the hip-hop scene. However, at Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, Southernplayalisticadillac funky music is a side dish to Maroon 5's halftime show. USA TODAY


Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine said he expected there to be controversy for performing in the Super Bowl on Sunday in Atlanta, and that it wasn't his choice to cancel this week's customary news conference with the band. 

"The NFL canceled the press conference, so you'll have to speak with them," the singer told Entertainment Tonight in an interview on Thursday. 

Maroon 5 and supporting acts Travis Scott and Outkast's Big Boi have drawn backlash since being announced as performers at the halftime show. Detractors believe a musical boycott is necessary to stand alongside former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was the first player to start a social injustice protest by kneeling during the national anthem two years ago.

The NAACP and other social justice groups have encouraged performers like Maroon 5 to back out as a way to send a message to the NFL. Several artists including Rihanna turned down the halftime show, according to multiple reports. 

"No one thought about it more than I did," Levine said in the interview. “I’m not in the right profession if I can’t handle a little bit of controversy. It’s what it is. We expected it. We’d like to move on from it and speak through the music.

"When you look back on every single Super Bowl halftime show, people just can't — it's this, like, insatiable urge to hate a little bit," Levine added. “I like to think that people know where I stand as a human being after two decades doing this. I’m not a speaker. I’m not a public speaker. I do speak, but it’s through the music.”

The Grammy award-winning group follows last year's performer, Justin Timberlake, who drew similar backlash but still held a news conference ahead of his performance. The NFL issued a statement in its cancellation announcement saying that "the artists will let their show do the talking." 

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