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NFL UK announces controversial pre-game act for Colts v Jaguars at Wembley

Today, NFL UK announced Grammy-nominated artist Robin Thicke as performing at the NFL’s International Series game between the Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, October 2.

One of the leading singer-songwriters in soul and R&B music, Thicke will take the stage for the pregame show at the first of the NFL’s three matches in London this autumn. “I am really excited to be performing at the NFL’s first London game,” he said, “I have seen and heard about the great atmosphere at Wembley for the games and to be playing in such a historic stadium is always a thrill.”

NFLUK Managing Director Alistair Kirkwood said: “We are very pleased to be adding another world-renowned act to the list of artists who have performed at our games. From Calvin Harris to Def Leppard and Madness to Little Mix, we have featured a diverse range of acts and Robin will get our event off to a great start.”

Thicke’s sixth album, Blurred Lines, was released in 2013, receiving three Grammy nominations and going straight to number one in the Billboard Top 200. The title track spent 12 weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as five weeks on top of the UK charts. However, it wasn’t all positive. A lot of negatively circulated with the song ‘Blurred Lines’ itself being dubbed as glorifying rape and therefore banned from being at several universities worldwide.

I asked a couple of fans what their thoughts were on the announcement:

One fan believes “The situation underlines that the UK NFL office is as tone deaf to taking issues like domestic violence and rape, as the U.S. Office is. Not only is the Josh Brown weak punishment still fresh but also multiple football colleges have been found to cover up widespread rape cases to aid football programmes. On top of that you have Darren Sharper and all the allegations against Jameis Winston. And then they book an artist to sing pre Wembley game who’s most well known song is about forced sex? Tone deaf.”

Another felt the choice is odd given his history and the issues the game faces in terms of attitudes to women, conduct of players in relation to women and overall issues. “I think it is boneheaded decision made by craven individuals that is deeply dismissive of female fans, and just women in general. But then we all accept it and we’ll all be either at the game or watching it…so it sort of proves their point!”

Since the news was announced this morning there has been a lot said with people questioning whether we even really need or care for having an act perform and many also saying they’d rather have “the likes of the Ohio State Band any day”. Of course, the act isn’t what people will judge the event on as no one is there for the music, but for the game. My personal opinion is that no matter the artist booked, you’ll never appeal to everyone – I feel that’s where the NFL has a tough job but I do wish they’d think about things carefully before hiring “a big name”.

Keep it simple, bring back DJ Ray.

Image copyright: Rookerville.com

Article written by:

Liz has covered the NFL for five seasons and currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for NFLGirlUK.com. Since launching the website in 2014, she has made regular appearances on the TalkSport2 ‘All American Sports Show’ with Nat Coombs and in 2016 was ranked No.37 (of 400+) in the “Super Bowl: Top 50 UK Influencers” by marketing software producers Analytica for “igniting conversations” between fans.

Join the discussion

  1. Anita Parkinson

    Absolutely disgusting for the NFL to herald someone who spouts such misogynistic, belittling rubbish. This is the UK and we should not be subjected to such an awful American perpetuation of sexism. There will be children present and this is not someone who should be on stage in front of them.
    I for one will turn my back on him and I urge every other right-thinking Brit present to do the same.
    This is the 21st century not the dark ages!

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