Gladys Knight defends the singing of the national anthem in the Super Bowl



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Gladys Knight performs during Proms In The Park 2018 in Hyde Park

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The singer is known for hits like Midnight Train to Georgia.

Gladys Knight has spoken out in defense of her decision to sing the American national anthem in the NFL Super Bowl next month.

The soul singer has faced criticism since the announcement, due to a series of protests from players.

Since 2016, some football players have refused to defend the anthem to protest against racial injustice. Critics, including President Trump, accuse them of disrespect.

In a statement, Knight said he hoped to "unite people."

The singer told Variety magazine that she wanted to "return the voice to the Anthem."

Knight also criticized the position of former field marshal Colin Kaepernick, who started the protests in 2016.

"I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things, and that is police violence and injustice," Knight wrote in the statement.

"It is unfortunate that our national anthem has been drawn into this debate when the distinctive senses of the national anthem and the struggle for justice should be independent."

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Kaepernick (pictured on his knees and in a Nike campaign) has filed a complaint against the National Football League

Knight also told the magazine that she had "been at the forefront" of the battle against inequality "more than most of those who expressed their opinions."

"I pray that this National Anthem will bring us together in a way never before seen and we can advance and unravel these truths that mean so much to all of us," his statement concluded.

How did the protests begin?

Kaepernick became the first player to refuse to perform during the national anthem in 2016.

He said the gesture was a protest against police shootings against unarmed African Americans and other examples of racial injustice.

After the player left the San Francisco 49ers in 2017, he remained unsigned and has not returned to play.

Since then, he has filed a complaint against the soccer league, accusing them of collusion to effectively "balonear" him.

Throughout 2017 and 2018, other players joined the protests and the issue became a point of polarizing debate in the United States.

Since then, the anthem protests have slowed, but the issue remains politically divisive.

The NFL remains without a consistent position on the issue after it froze plans to fine teams whose players protested.

This year's Super Bowl championship game, the 53rd, will be played in Atlanta on February 3.

Maroon 5, who has been announced as interpreters of part-time shows, has also faced criticism for his appearance alongside rappers Travis Scott and Big Boi.

A petition requesting the gang to reconsider its decision has received more than 90,000 signatures.

It was rumored that other artists, including Rihanna, in the US media rejected the offers.

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