The NFL and ABC have
decided to keep rapper Kanye West as a performer in the season-opening sho, despite
media criticism of comments West made during a live NBC telethon to raise money
for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
West appeared on “A
Concert for Hurricane Relief” along side other celebrities. While West
was at the podium with comedian Mike Myers, he deviated from the script and
criticized the United States government’s response to African-Americans
after the hurricane, which left hundreds of thousands of people displaced.
West concluded his unscripted
comments by saying “[President] George Bush doesn’t care about Black
people.” NBC quickly cut away from West and censored West's speech out
of the West coast rebroadcast which aired three hours later.
West will perform as scheduled
with Maroon 5 at the Los Angeles Coliseum during the league’s opening
show, which will air on rival network, ABC Thursday (September 8).
A spokesman for the league
said that West had expressed his opinion and that performers were selected for
entertainment purposes and not their political beliefs.
with Maroon 5 will be taped 20 minutes before the NFL opener and will be then
be mixed into the live broadcast.
The NFL is producing concerts
in Los Angeles, California, Detroit, Michigan and Foxborough, Massachusetts
and will also feature Trisha Yearwood, The Rolling Stones and Green Day.
Both ABC and the NFL have
tried to avoid controversy since Janet Jackson’s infamous breast incident
ABC also came under fire
because of a sexually charged “Desperate Housewives” introduction
staring The Eagles’ Terrell Owens and ABC's “Desperate Housewives”
star Nicollette Sheridan.
The Eagles and
ABC later issued apologies for the spot. The NFL Opening Kickoff 2005 takes
place Thursday, Sept. 8 at 8 p.m ET.