The NFL is reportedly ‘finalizing a deal‘ with Justin Timberlake to play the upcoming Super Bowl LII Halftime Show. No offense to JT, but this just isn’t the right time.
Jay-Z and Adele reportedly turned the Super Bowl down. And one big reason is that it doesn’t pay! They don’t need the ‘free publicity,’ especially when the NFL makes people play to tape and compresses their catalogs into Disney-style medleys.
Hey, that’s show business. But no thanks. Make someone else a clown, NFL.
So it’s onto choices number 3, 4, and 5. And up comes a familiar face: Justin Timberlake.
Seemingly a safe bet, except that this is exactly what the NFL was thinking back in 2004! For those too young to remember, that’s when Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson pulled a little stunt on-stage, giving birth to the ‘wardrobe malfunction’.
It was nearly 14 years ago. And the image of Janet Jackson’s boob is forever etched in America’s memory.
So what stunt will JT try this time? Not to mention the media will be constantly rehashing a controversy that the NFL has struggled to forget.
And not just the media. Yes, you will see ‘boobgate’ and ‘wardrobe malfunction’ reiterated constantly as Super Bowl LII approaches. Because, it’s the internet.
But if only the NFL had ‘boobgate’ problems today.
Instead, the league is grappling with its very existence, thanks to growing scientific evidence that helmet collisions are killing players. Even worse, it’s destroying lives thanks to brain damage and related dementia.
And maybe it’s a lot worse than anyone imagined. Just recently, former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was found to have stage 3 chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). That’s a very late-stage form of the brain disease, and possibly linked to Hernandez’ homicide conviction and subsequent suicide.
That’s right. After playing in a Super Bowl himself, Hernandez ultimately hanged himself in his jail cell.
Meanwhile, the NFL is embroiled in another controversy involving the National Anthem. And this one affects every single American.
Standing up (or kneeling down) for your beliefs is called peaceful protest. And the NFL is right to push back. But why not use this opportunity to bring in a real crusader for social change? And make a giant, unifying statement for all Americans?
Aretha Franklin played a stunning National Anthem at a Detroit Lions game last year. It was captivating for what wasn’t stated.
And there are lots of other artists that have been through social turbulence before. All of them played a part in bettering America. In fact, that’s what music used to be all about.
Not only that. There are plenty of younger artists that can also bring people together. All of these artists can say, collectively, ‘let’s improve the situation in America’.
That’s something the NFL can do. They can be bigger than Trump, bigger than racism, and bigger than politics. They can be the adults in the room. But they have to decide to do that. They have to really want to win this game.
So skip Justin Timberlake, NFL. No disrespect to one of music’s biggest pop stars. But it’s just not the right time.
Instead, pick a performer who can really unite. Or better yet, pick a group of performers, united on stage with a powerful message. A group that can make a massive, long-lasting statement in the process — one that transcend the bulls—t that’s dragging down America today.
Move the ball forward, NFL.