Brooks, a seven-times recipient of the top country music honor, said Wednesday that "it's time for somebody else to hold that award."
He last won CMA "Entertainer of the Year" in 2019, when some in country music fandom argued passionately for Carrie Underwood or Eric Church to earn the annual trophy.
'There's one tweet in there that really stuck in my head," Brooks said in a virtual press conference Wednesday. "It said, 'Hey, man. This guy, why doesn't he just step down (and leave) the entertainer for the next generation?' 100% agree."
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He continued, "With all the love in the world, we are officially pulling ourselves out of 'Entertainer of the Year.'"
Garth Brooks — one of the world's top-selling live entertainers across all genres and the highest-grossing touring artist out of Nashville last year — plans to indefinitely withdraw from "Entertainer of the Year" running, he said Wednesday. He first won the Country Music Association honor in 1991, with "Entertainer of the Year" trophies following in '92, '97, '98, 2016 and '17.
In an ideal situation, Brooks said he would begin an "Entertainer of the Year Emeritus" era of his career. He proposed this idea to the CMA, but noted that the association can't "can’t just create a title and give it to somebody, because they want to treat everybody fairly."
"If I had my dream, that’s how we’d handle this situation right here," Brooks told roughly 70 media members via Zoom.
Voting for the 54th annual CMA Awards began last month; the association begins distributing second round ballots to CMA members Friday, per its website. Final ballot voting closes in October. Eligibility for the awards run July 1, 2019 to June 30.
A statement from the CMA said longstanding voting rules do not allow organizers to pull artists from the balloting process. This leaves Brooks' ability to bow out in the hands of roughly 7,000 voting CMA members.
"If voters have nominated Garth Brooks in the first round, his name will appear on the second ballot," the statement said. "It will then be up to voters in this second round to select their top finalists. The final 2020 CMA Awards nominees, which will consist of five nominees in each category, will be announced in the coming weeks ..."
It continued, "We look forward to seeing who our members vote for when 'The 54th Annual CMA Awards' air on ABC in November."
The COVID-19 pandemic caused Brooks, and virtually all major touring acts, to postpone events until next year. As 2021 brims with scheduled and rescheduled tour dates, Brooks noted that "we stand a good chance of having the best year of our career."
Add next year's plans with Brooks' logging pre-shutdown tour dates, a live network special and drive-in concert event in 2020 — plus his goal to continue filling North America's largest venues in 2022 — and he said "we could be up for this thing for the next three years and deservingly have a shot at it."
"I just don't think that would be fun for anybody," Brooks said.