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Cardi B declined offer to perform at Super Bowl halftime with "mixed feelings"

Cardi B said she received an offer to perform at the Super Bowl but struggled with the decision to turn down the lucrative opportunity in support of ex-NFL player Colin Kaepernick. The Grammy-nominated rapper told The Associated Press Friday evening that she had "mixed feelings" after she declined to take the stage at Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. 

She said it was a hard decision since her husband, rapper Offset, loves to watch football, but she felt obligated to "stand behind" Kaepernick because he "stood up" for minorities.

"My husband, he loves football. His kids play football. It's really hard for him. ... He really wants to go to the Super Bowl, but he can't go to the Super Bowl, because he's got to stand for something," said Cardi B, who is nominated for five Grammys. 

"You have to sacrifice that," she added. "I got to sacrifice a lot of money to perform. But there's a man who sacrificed his job for us, so we got to stand behind him."

Kaepernick helped start a wave of protests by kneeling during the national anthem to raise awareness about police brutality, racial inequality and other social issues. His efforts ignited a political firestorm over whether social justice needs to be addressed at the NFL's marquee event. 

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Rapper Cardi B leaves the courtroom after a hearing at Queens Criminal Court on January 31, 2019 in New York. Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

The NFL was without a headliner until recently, when Maroon 5 was officially announced as the halftime show's headlining performer. The band was immediately caught in the crossfire of the NFL's controversial new anthem policy: requiring players to now stand or stay in the locker room during the national anthem.

Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine said a lot of introspection went into his decision to perform amid controversy. 

"When you look back on every single Super Bowl halftime show … it's this like insatiable urge to hate a little bit. I'm not in the right profession if I can't handle a little bit of controversy," Levine told spoke with "Entertainment Tonight" co-host Kevin Frazier. "We expected it, we'd like to move on from it… and speak through the music."

Maroon 5 will be joined by Big Boi of Outkast and rapper Travis Scott at halftime of the game between the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots on Sunday. Gladys Knight will sing the national anthem. 

Some, including Rihanna and Pink, have reportedly turned down offers to perform. In a recent song, Jay-Z alluded to declining to perform at the Super Bowl, and Amy Schumer refused to appear in a TV ad during the game.

Last year, Cardi B said she wouldn't take the Super Bowl stage until Kaepernick gets a job. With Kaepernick still without a team, she is standing by her words, but will perform at a concert in downtown Atlanta Saturday. She is hosting a party this week and will also appear in a Super Bowl commercial.