Some Arizona college students had a message for sports broadcaster, Stephen A. Smith, “Stay in your own lane,”—this, after Smith made negative remarks about Rihanna performing at Super Bowl LVII

Rihanna performance in the U.K.

MikeARB (Flickr)

Rihanna performance in the U.K.

Preston Grace, Reporter

Super Bowl LVII will take place on Feb. 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.  Although the main focus of this game is to watch which team will take home the Vince Lombardi Trophy, other competitions have developed which have nothing to do with football.

World famous singer Rihanna is set to perform at the Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show in Glendale Arizona.

The Super Bowl Halftime Show is something music fans—and sports fans alike— look forward to.  Some of the world’s most famous artists have performed spectacular mini concerts on the field during halftime and for millions watching in the U.S. and abroad.

In the recent past, there has been some controversy and criticism of certain performers and performances—and this year seems to be no different.

In an interview on Sherri Shepherd’s talk show, Sherri, ESPN sports personality Stephen A. Smith was asked if he was excited about Rihanna’s Super Bowl halftime performance.

“She’s spectacular” he said, but he didn’t leave it at that, and now regrets that he didn’t.

“There is one thing she’s not—She ain’t Beyoncé,” Smith said. The live audience showed their displeasure and booed him, and the online resentment came flooding in soon after.

Smith also made matters worse when he added that there are “levels” of talent in the entertainment industry. Which seem to imply that other performers, including Rihanna, were less talented than Beyoncé.

Northeast Valley News talked to students on the campus of Scottsdale Community College to ask them for their reaction to Smith and whether his comments were “out of line.”

“I do. I think Rihanna is amazing and she can perform just as good as anyone else.” Brookie Fuentes, a student at SCC said. “He has his thing, and she has hers. I don’t think it’s fair for him to judge someone that isn’t in the same industry

“I think Rihanna is a fantastic artist and absolutely deserves to perform at the halftime show,” says Austin Fritzke. “Everyone is justified to have their opinions, but should people care about their opinions? No.”

“I think Rihanna is 100x better than Beyoncé,” said Paul Arthur King Jr. When asked if it’s fair for sports figures to minimize the talent levels of other artists not named “Beyoncé,” King said “Absolutely not.”

Student, Robbie Kinnard said “Rihanna has been on the top of the game since 2008.” “Beyoncé has definitely separated herself from everybody else, but to say that Rihanna is so far apart from her? I don’t get it.” Robbie also added “the sports and music industry is completely different, so a sports figure shouldn’t criticize them.”

Julia Frick said “every artist has their own talent… Rihanna has been here since the early 2000s when we were kids and has been making great music for such a long time. I think she’s an amazing artist.” Frick also added “I think everyone should have their opinion, but they shouldn’t try to minimize them and take away from their character.”

Clearly—at least according to the college students opinion polled in Scottsdale—sports broadcaster, Stephen A. Smith needs to stay in his own lane and leave the half-time entertainment critique to the fans.