The sad fact is that if you watched Super Bowl LIII, you watched a game where Maroon 5 was arguably the best part of it.
The Adam Levine-led band, widely ridiculed as a choice for the halftime show for being about as bland and middle-of-the-road as music can possibly get, still managed to kind of acquit themselves decently on Sunday, which is more than could be said for most of the players on the New England Patriots or the Los Angeles Rams.
There were no sour notes, no wardrobe malfunctions and no political statements to be had at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
At least on that last part, the social justice warrior crowd is furious.
As you may have heard before the game, there was a bit of a kerfuffle over the fact that Maroon 5 — along with rappers Travis Scott and Big Boi — decided to perform at all. According to the SJWs of the left, every musician was supposed to stand in solidarity with former quarterback Colin Kaepernick because he’s not playing football in the NFL.
The narrative is that he’s been blackballed from the league for his national anthem protests, even though he went 3-16 in his 19 starts during his last two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, opted out of his contract and then sabotaged his future opportunities with fun stunts like having his girlfriend post a meme that portrayed the owner of the Baltimore Ravens — the team with which Kaepernick was negotiating with at that point — as a slave owner from “Django Unchained.”
Musicians like Rihanna and Cardi B had turned down an opportunity to appear in the halftime show because of Kaepernick’s non-playing status and others like Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters urged Maroon 5 and others involved in the halftime show to take a knee.
Appearing in an interview on “Entertainment Tonight” last week, Levine said that protesters would be represented in the halftime show.
“They will be (heard) — that’s all I want to say because I don’t want to spoil anything,” Levine said.
“And once again, I like to think that people know where I stand as a human being after two decades doing this … I’m not a public speaker. I do speak, but it’s through the music. My life’s work and what I put out into the universe has been positive and hopefully inspiring,” he continued.
“So, what I would say is, you know, we are going to do what we keep on doing, hopefully without becoming politicians and continuing to use the one voice we know how to use properly.”
They certainly didn’t become politicians, but the protests also weren’t heard during the halftime. It was entirely apolitical. And for liberals, any entertainer who doesn’t use a platform like the Super Bowl’s national audience to putsh the liberal agenda has to come across as a double-cross.
Of the people most aggravated over the apolitical nature of the halftime show, one would have likely been Mark Geragos, Kaepernick’s lawyer. On “Good Morning America” on Friday, one day after Levine’s appearance on “Entertainment Tonight,” Geragos had branded Levine and the other performers as political scabs.
“If you’re going to cross this ideological or intellectual picket line, then own it, and Adam Levine certainly isn’t owning it,” Geragos said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“It’s a cop-out when you start talking about, ‘I’m not a politician; I’m just doing the music,’” he added. “Most of the musicians who have any kind of consciousness whatsoever understand what’s going on here.”
In other words: “Shut up and say what we’re saying like a good liberal.”
In a post to Instagram after the halftime show, Levine didn’t really explain much about the controversy.
“When we accepted the responsibility to perform at the SBHTS, I took out my pen and just wrote,” Levine wrote, along with a picture from the show.
“Some of the words that came to me in that moment eventually made their way onto the incredible lanterns that flew high and low tonight. We thank the universe for this historic opportunity to play on the world’s biggest stage. We thank our fans for making our dreams possible. And we thank our critics for always pushing us to do better. One Love.”
Well, OK then. One assumes that “Kneel,” “Endure” and “Listen” were references to Kaepernick, and the fact that Levine said “we got you” as lanterns spelled out “One Love” above him during the halftime show was as well. That’s not really a political message, though — even in his rambling post, you could divine pretty much any meaning you wanted out of it, if you wanted to look hard enough.
I’m not sure whether Levine was displaying courage or fecklessness by refusing to prostrate himself before the protesting masses. I’m not even sure they’re mutually exclusive here. However, he’s certainly going to be braving the fury of the left.
Let them talk.
If Kaepernick continues to stay out of football — and there’s been no sign that he’s made a major push to get signed or that teams are making a push to sign him — he’s going to get one year older and one year rustier.
While he’ll continue to be a touchstone for the American left, he’ll be fading from memory in a major way.
There was no kneeling during the halftime show, nor will there be in the foreseeable future. That’s what everyone on the left was waiting for.
And, at the very least, Maroon 5 picked a Super Bowl where the band couldn’t possibly be any less watchable than the game.