"I have been in the forefront of this battle longer than most of those voicing their opinions to win the right to sing our country’s Anthem on a stage as large as the Super Bowl LIII," Knight said.

By Jenna West
January 18, 2019

Legendary singer Gladys Knight says she's singing the national anthem at this year's Super Bowl to give "back its voice."

Variety asked Knight about her stance on how the NFL has treated former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The seven-time Grammy winner issued a statement to the outlet explaining why she wants to sing the anthem before the game.

"I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things, and they are police violence and injustice. It is unfortunate that our National Anthem has been dragged into this debate when the distinctive senses of the National Anthem and fighting for justice should each stand alone.

"I am here today and on Sunday, Feb. 3 to give the Anthem back its voice, to stand for that historic choice of words, the way it unites us when we hear it and to free it from the same prejudices and struggles I have fought long and hard for all my life, from walking back hallways, from marching with our social leaders, from using my voice for good—I have been in the forefront of this battle longer than most of those voicing their opinions to win the right to sing our country’s Anthem on a stage as large as the Super Bowl LIII.

"No matter who chooses to deflect with this narrative and continue to mix these two in the same message, it is not so and cannot be made so by anyone speaking it. I pray that this National Anthem will bring us all together in a way never before witnessed and we can move forward and untangle these truths which mean so much to all of us."

Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since 2016 after taking a stance by taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem to protest police brutality and social injustice.

The NFL and CBS announced on Thursday that Knight, an Atlanta native, will sing the "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the Super Bowl this year. 

Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Big Boi will perform during the big game's halftime show. Super Bowl LIII will take place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. ET.

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