Explained: Why Eminem took a knee at Super Bowl 2022 as NFL responds

The 2022 Super Bowl took place on Sunday (February 13) at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles with the Los Angeles Rams taking on the Cincinnati Bengals.

This year’s halftime show featured big stars from the rap world, including Eminem, Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Mary J Blige and Kendrick Lamar.

Eminem drew attention on social media with an apparent political gesture by taking a knee. The league has since filed a statement.

Why did Eminem take a knee in the Super Bowl?

During the Super Bowl LVI halftime show, Eminem knelt onstage and dipped his head in an apparent nod to former NFL quarterback and activist Colin Kaepernick, The New York Times reports.

The gesture began in 2016 when Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem before a game to raise awareness of police brutality and racial injustice. Since then, kneeling has become a sign of protest against racial injustice in the US.

Many NFL players have taken the pose in solidarity with Kaepernick and continue to support his actions.

Eminem had yet to comment on social media about his gesture at the time.

NFL Statement 

The NFL released a statement refuting multiple reports that organizers had asked music artists not to kneel during the 2022 Super Bowl.

Speaking to USA Today, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy called the claims false, saying the league knew Eminem would take a knee while NFL officials looked at “every element of the show during various rehearsals this week.” 

McCarthy insisted the league had no reason to tell music artists what they could do, as players have been making the same gesture since 2016 with no repercussions.

McCarthy added: “A player or coach could have taken a knee and there would have been no repercussions, so there was no reason to tell an artist that he couldn’t do it.”

Fans praise Eminem and other rap artists

Several Twitter users praised Eminem’s gesture and many applauded his performance and the rest of the artists at the halftime show. 

“If you know anything about Eminem, you knew he would definitely take a knee here, whether the NFL would allow it or not.” tweeted a person. 

“I loved it, I want to dance in the house that rap built. As a poet, I’ve always appreciated that the art and beats of rap are epic. As an activist, I almost cried when @Eminem took a knee.” wrote other.

A third fan shared a clip of Eminem’s gesture and acclaimed training as “simply epic”. 

Some users pointed out the league’s hypocrisy over allowing Eminem to kneel – a decision that cost Kaepernick his football career.

One fan wrote: “NFL kneels to Eminem.”

Another commented: “I feel like if you know anything about Eminem you knew that he was definitely going to kneel here whether NFL allowed it or not.”

Others celebrated Eminem’s legacy, and the moment he kneeled, with one Twitter user writing: “He is immortal in the rap world. It was unforgettable.”

“Ha ha. They can’t kick Eminem out of the NFL. KNEEL PROUD! Black Lives Matter,” another user declared.

Still others described the moment Eminem took the knee as “beautiful” and “epic”.

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