Eminem took a knee during the Super Bowl Halftime Show tonight (February 13), despite reports that the NFL had barred him from doing so.
The move holds much significance in the American football league, after it was used as a means of protest by former 49ers player Colin Kaepernick to call attention to racial inequality and police brutality in the US.
The quarterback began kneeling during the national anthem at games in 2016, sparking divided reactions from fans and politicians, including Donald Trump. He became a free agent in 2017 and has not played in the NFL since.
Eminem took the knee after performing ‘Lose Yourself’ at the Super Bowl Halftime Show at LA’s SoFi Stadium, where he appeared alongside Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar and surprise performer 50 Cent. According to reports, the NFL had denied the rapper permission to execute the move, but he did it anyway.
“Eminem the GOAT for kneeling even after the NFL told him not to do it,” one fan reacted on Twitter.
Eminem the GOAT for kneeling even after the NFL told him not to do it pic.twitter.com/b64NL2Rz63
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) February 14, 2022
“Eminem kneels after NFL asked him not to. Don’t tell a goat how to behave,” another wrote. Another called the move “legend behaviour”. See more reactions below.
NFL reportedly told Eminem no kneeling during the half time show. Eminem goes right ahead and does his thing. Shocking! pic.twitter.com/YU3iDyvoiq
— Don Lewis (@DonLew87) February 14, 2022
— Meri’ ⚓️ (@OkayItsMeri) February 14, 2022
— akie 🏴 (@akie_stark) February 14, 2022
NFL: Don’t take a knee, Eminem.
Eminem: So you want me to definitely, 100%, absolutely take a knee? Got it. https://t.co/nFIPnDQuEb
— W. Kamau Bell (@wkamaubell) February 14, 2022
— Max (@nordstrom_max) February 14, 2022
— ScottyChrysForever33 (@ScottyStyles33) February 14, 2022
According to the New York Post, the NFL denied that it had asked Eminem not to kneel, saying players had been allowed to do so since 2016 “without sanctions” and that musical performers would not be penalised for doing so either.
Meanwhile, the rest of the performance saw Dr. Dre, Lamar, Blige and Snoop Dogg perform some of their biggest hits, while Eminem was joined by Anderson .Paak on drums for his performance of ‘Lose Yourself’.
Speaking ahead of the event, Snoop Dogg said performing at the halftime show was a “dream come true”. “I’m still thinking I’m in a dream because I can’t believe that they will let a real hip-hop artist grace the stage in an NFL Super Bowl,” he said. “We’re just going to wait for that moment and put something together that’s spectacular, and do what we’re known for doing and add on to the legacy.”