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Rapper Eminem took a knee during Sunday night’s Super Bowl halftime show, despite reports that the NFL asked him to avoid doing so.
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Eminem — real name Marshall Mathers — took a knee during Sunday’s Super Bowl LVI halftime performance in defiance of the NFL’s wishes, according to reports.
Ahead of the performance, which included legendary rappers Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and 50 Cent and R&B hitmaker Mary J. Blige, the NFL was said to have told Mathers to avoid kneeling so as to waylay a “divisive culture war moment.”
Toward the end of Mathers’ segment, he performed 2002’s “Lose Yourself” and concluded with its chorus:
You better lose yourself in the music, the moment/ You own it, you better never let it go/ You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow/ This opportunity comes once in a lifetime
At the chorus’s conclusion, Mathers put his hand to his head and dropped to one knee and remained there, unmoving, as the crowd went wild.
The rapper in 2017 lauded NFL quarterback turned activist Colin Kaepernick, who helped to usher in kneeling protests during NFL games, and in his song “Untouchable,” Mathers rapped, “Somebody has to be the sacrificial lamb/ So they call it a Kaepernick tantrum/ If you don’t stand for the national anthem/We raise it, you better praise it.”
On Monday, Fox News reported that the NFL was “aware” that the rapper planned to kneel during the performance.
“That report was erroneous,” a NFL spokesperson Brian the outlet. “We watched all elements of the show during multiple rehearsals this week and were aware that Eminem was going to do that.”
The denial came just one day before reports alleged that NFL brass told Mathers under no circumstances was he permitted to kneel during his performance.
Ahead of the big game, Consequence reported that the league nixed “several elements of the show,” including Mathers’ request to kneel.
“The NFL also rejected an outfit that [rapper] Snoop Dogg was set to wear due to possible gang ties, and flagged [rapper] Dr. Dre’s lyric from ‘Still D.R.E.,’ which includes the line ‘still not loving police,'” the outlet added.