Comedian Amy Schumer said she will not appear in any Super Bowl commercials this year in solidarity with free agent NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other players participating in national anthem protests against social injustice.
Schumer explained her stance in a lengthy Instagram post amid reports that pop star Rihanna had turned down an offer to perform during the Super Bowl Halftime Show in solidarity with Kaepernick, who has not appeared in an NFL game since 2016. The 37-year-old comedian called on white NFL players to join protestors in kneeling during the anthem, arguing that players who abstain are “complicit” in systemic racism.
“I personally told my reps I wouldn’t do a Super Bowl commercial this year. I know it must sound like a privilege a—sacrifice but it’s all I got,” Schumer wrote. “Hitting the NFL with the advertisers is the only way to really hurt them.”
It’s unclear if Schumer had already received offers to appear in Super Bowl commercials during the game next February. She last appeared in a Super Bowl commercial in 2016 on behalf of Bud Light, an NFL advertiser.
Advertisers paid an estimated $5 million for a 30-second commercial during last year’s Super Bowl. The game regularly ranks as the most-watched television program of the year, drawing more than 100 million viewers globally.
Schumer isn’t the first prominent voice to take aim at the NFL’s advertisers over the anthem debate. In October 2017, Jemele Hill, then an ESPN anchor, called on the public to boycott NFL advertisers after Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said players who knelt during the anthem would face team discipline.
Kaepernick became the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem in 2016, protesting police brutality and social injustice in America. Dozens of players later joined the protests, drawing the ire of President Trump and sparking efforts by NFL officials to revamp the league’s policy on in-game protests.
Some advertisers expressed concerned about the NFL’s handling of player anthem protests. Former Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter argued during a late 2017 earnings call that the NFL protests had hurt the pizza chain’s sales because of its high-profile sponsorship deal with the league. Months later, the two sides mutually agreed to end the partnership.
Anheuser-Busch established a customer service hotline for consumers to air their concerns about the beverage company’s relationship with the NFL, but later said it would stand by its partnership.