As we reported yesterday, legendary singer and longtime civil rights champion Gladys Knight will sing the National Anthem prior to Super Bowl 53 which is being held in her hometown of Atlanta on Feb 3rd.

Of course it comes as no surprise that the Knight is being criticized for her move by supporters of quarterback Colin Kaepernick who they feel has been blackballed from the National Football League because of his sideline protests against police abuse of African Americans by “taking a knee.”

In response, Knight has issued this statement:

“I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things, and they are police violence and injustice,” she wrote. “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.”