The NHL on Thursday acknowledged the backlash caused by booking Kid Rock to perform this month at the its All-Star Game but stood by the decision that "was all about the entertainment … and the fact that Kid Rock is a hockey lover."
— Kid Rock (@KidRock) January 16, 2018
"Most of the time, our acts are passionate hockey fans," NHL executive VP Steve Mayer told ESPN.com. "It's all about the entertainment at the end of the day for us, and this selection was purely based on that, and the fact that Kid Rock is a hockey lover. That's simply the background here."
The singer, 47, has drawn criticism — and praise — for endorsing President Donald Trump, displaying Confederate flags at his concerts and criticizing Colin Kaepernick's protests during the national anthem.
When you find out Kid Rock is playing the Alll-Star Game pic.twitter.com/vMDqnK4x8R
— Yahoo Sports NHL (@YahooSportsNHL) January 17, 2018
Mayer, however, defended to the NHL's move because the Michigan native whose real name is Robert James Ritchie is a longtime Red Wings fan.
And though Mayer said the NHL did consider his recent controversies, "Our sole objective is to choose musical acts to perform at our events and entertain our fans."
The NHL All-Star Game is scheduled for Jan. 28 in Tampa, and Kid Rock is one of several musical acts scheduled to appear.