Eminem took a knee after his solo set at the 2022 Super Bowl halftime show, and a report is saying that the move was in defiance of the NFL.
After he wrapped up his Oscar-winning 8 Mile song “Lose Yourself” and before Dr. Dre launched into a short Tupac Shakur tribute on the piano, Eminem dropped to one knee, seemingly in solidarity with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The ex-San Francisco 49ers QB started a movement in the NFL when he started kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality in the United States.
According to Puck, Eminem asked to kneel during halftime and was denied. But the NFL denies the allegation, with spokesman Brian McCarthy saying in a statement to Billboard: “There was an erroneous report this afternoon. We watched all elements of the show during multiple rehearsals this week and were aware that Eminem was going to do that. A player or coach could have taken a knee and there would have been no issue so there was no reason to tell an artist she or he could not do so.” Billboard also reached out to Eminem’s camp to confirm the story.
Eminem has previously referenced Kaepernick in his lyrics, including in his viral cypher at the 2017 BET Hip Hop Awards, where he rapped, “F— that, this is for Colin, ball up a fist!” Then in 2020, Em released a pair of songs from Music to Murdered By – Side B that referenced the QB too, including “These Demons” (“No cap, still riding with Colin”) and “Black Magic” (“But I ain’t gonna stand for that sh–, like Kaep for the national anthem”).
Em took the halftime stage with Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.