U2′s humanitarian frontman Bono’s offer to perform during this years Super Bowl halftime show has been turned down by the National Football League. Bono had hoped to use the performance as a means to inform the general public of the AIDS epidemic in Africa. This past year, he and Jennifer Lopez recorded a song that Bono wrote called “An American Prayer.” The song addresses the AIDS crisis in Africa that has reached far past epidemic proportions, already having claimed the lives of over 2 million people in sub-Sahara Africa just last year.
Bono had proposed the idea to this year’s halftime producers, MTV, and was given their support. However, after two years of meetings with NFL officials, (who in 2002 arranged for U2 to perform a tribute to the victims of September 11th) Bono’s hopes were shot down. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the New York Daily News, “We simply decided that we were going to have our halftime show, and we were going to deliver, as we do annually, an extremely entertaining halftime show…we don’t believe it’s appropriate to focus on a single issue.” I mean it would be rather inappropriate to focus on anything besides pure entertainment in a halftime show. McCarthy also added that this was a long held view and that Bono was basically strung along “out of their great respect for him.”
Needless to say, this minor set back will do nothing to slow Bono’s humanitarian crusades. He has already scheduled a visit to Africa this spring to raise the public’s awareness of the crisis. The NFL plans to participate in Bono’s visit by sending players along with him. Maybe then Bono can sing his song.