ABC, NFL Say Kanye West Can Perform At Season Opener

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.

West’s performance

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

on CBS.

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.