Skip to Content

A Growing NFL Brand Problem: Rihanna Joins Celebrities Slamming the League

One reason viewer ratings for the Super Bowl were the lowest since 2008 could be celebrity boycotts, which have become a prominent problem for the NFL, according to the Washington Post.

Many experts say the brand damage from these NFL protests will continue until the league can address its treatment of sidelined quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Notably adding to the chorus of critics is Rihanna, who this weekend directed slams against the NFL and its end-of-season finale.

The pop star posted an internet video mocking a fellow passenger on a flight who wanted to watch the Super Bowl. Then she posted an image of Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49er who, after becoming a free agent, was iced out of the league, many critics say, for repeatedly taking a knee in protest of police violence toward African Americans.

The message accompanying the image was, “for those of you who thought I was watchin the Super Bowl … we beefin.”

Kaepernick replied, “I really appreciate @rihanna keepin it 100,” following the words with a raised-fist emoji.

Others expressing discontent included film director Ava DuVernay who wrote on Twitter she wouldn’t be a “spectator, viewer or supporter” of the Super Bowl over the NFL’s “racist treatment of @Kaepernick7 and its ongoing disregard for the health + well-being of all its players.”

On Monday, rapper and actor Nick Cannon said the game “wasn’t so super, I heard,” explaining he didn’t watch the big event. “Systemic oppression is one of America’s biggest problems,” he said on the Wendy Williams show. “This man put $150 million on the line for his people.”