NJ troopers to Goodell: ‘Shock and disgust’ for Beyonce Super Bowl halftime show
The fallout from pop singer Beyonce's controversial halftime show -- an apparent ode to the Black Panther Party -- during Super Bowl 50 continues, and has prompted the president of the NJ State Troopers' Fraternal Association to send a letter to the NFL's commissioner.
Christopher J. Burgos, president of the State Troopers' Fraternal Association of New Jersey, wrote to Roger Goodell to express his "shock and disgust" at the halftime show, which he said sent an "anti-police" message to football fans.
"I'm writing to you to make known to the NFL the level of shock and disgust my members have for your decision to allow a performer, paid by the NFL, to use Super Bowl 50 as a forum to deliver a blatantly anti-police message to the entire world," Burgos wrote in the letter, which was obtained by NJ 101.5.
The performance featured the 34-year-old superstar and dancers dressed in costumes in homage to the Black Panther Party, as she performed her new, politically-charged song "Formation."
"I must presume that the NFL stands by the message of that 'performer,' that it is OK to agitate and if necessary, harm the police if a certain group in our society feel it justified. I allude specifically to the praising of the Black Panther movement, a group who has without shame assassinated dozens of law enforcement officers in this country. A group, even today, who calls for members of our society to rise up against the police and kill them in cold blood," Burgos said in his letter to Goodell.
According to FOX Sports, an anti-Beyonce protest rally is being planned for Feb. 16 outside the NFL offices. That's also the same date that tickets for Beyonce's "Formation" tour are set to go on sale. The group organizing the protest has a web page that refers to the singer's performance as "a race-baiting stunt" and a "slap in the face to law enforcement."
The "Formation" video and Beyonce's Super Bowl performance have also drawn criticism from political figures including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who told the New York Daily News he thought the act was "outrageous."
"This is football, not Hollywood, and I thought it was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her and protect us, and keep us alive," Giuliani told the New York Daily News.
Burgos expressed similar sentiments in his letter to the NFL commissioner.
"We call on the NFL to separate itself from that message. This is not a First Amendment issue. The NFL coordinated, approved, paid and made available this message for a worldwide stage," Burgos wrote. "In doing so you have willfully dishonored the hundreds of thousands of men and women who took an oath to serve and protect, and sacrifice their lives every day so that fans, the rich, powerful, and NFLPA members can entertain tens of thousands of fans at stadiums in a peaceful and safe environment."
Many people took to social media immediately following the show to show their support for Beyonce.
Goodell has not yet responded to the letter, which was sent Wednesday. In addition, no statements have been made by Beyonce on her website, social media or other platforms in response to the backlash.
Toniann Antonelli is the digital managing editor for news at NJ 101.5. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.