ATLANTA (CBSLA) — Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine opened up for the first time with ET’s Kevin Frazier about his group’s controversial decision to perform at the Super Bowl.

Several major acts reportedly declined to perform at the Super Bowl half-time show over the NFL’s handling of Colin Kaepernick and the national anthem kneeling debate. Artists like Rihanna, Jay-Z and Cardi B were among the stars who reportedly declined the offer.

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“I’m not in the right profession if I can’t handle a little bit of controversy,” Levine said. “It’s what it is. We expected it. We’d like to move on from it.”

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It was just last month that the NFL announced Maroon 5, along with Big Boi and Travis Scott, would perform at the Super Bowl half-time show. The Super Bowl half-time performer is usually announced months in advance of the big game.

A traditional Thursday news conference with the half-time act was canceled, and Levine says it was the NFL’s decision to cancel it.

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Kaepernick, who last played for the San Francisco 49’ers, ignited a cultural firestorm when he decided to kneel during the national anthem in protest of racial injustice. He remains unsigned by any NFL team and has filed a lawsuit against the league, alleging collusion to keep him off the field.