NFL denies it tried to stop Eminem from taking knee at Super Bowl halftime show

  • Rapper made gesture in apparent tribute to Colin Kaepernick
  • League has admitted in past failing to listen to its own players

The NFL has denied reports that it attempted to stop Eminem from kneeling during his performance at the Super Bowl halftime show.

The game took place at Los Angeles’ SoFi Stadium and the halftime show was headlined by Dr Dre, who hails from nearby Compton. He was joined by fellow Californian stars Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar as well as Mary J Blige, Eminem and 50 Cent in an electrifying set.

As his rendition of Lose Yourself ended, Eminem took a knee and held his head in his hand in apparent tribute to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who took a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality during the 2016 season. Other players followed suit after the quarterback’s gesture, and the move created widespread cultural controversy, with the league receiving criticism of its handling of the matter. Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since the end of the 2016 season and it is widely believed he was blackballed by the league’s teams and owners over his stance.

This is it. Right here. Eminem takes a knee as Dr. Dre plays Tupac’s I ain’t mad at cha on the piano. Here’s when I lost it

— Luis Miguel Echegaray (@lmechegaray) February 14, 2022

After Sunday’s game the NFL denied reports that it had attempted to stop Eminem from making the gesture.

“We watched all elements of the show during multiple rehearsals this week and were aware that Eminem was going to do that,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy said.

In the wake of the protests following the police murder of George Floyd in 2020, the NFL admitted it had failed to listen to its players’ concerns over racism in the United States.

“We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest,” said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in June 2020, without explicitly mentioning Kaepernick. “We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter.”


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