The National Football League insists there’s no truth to a report the league was unaware Super Bowl Halftime performer Eminem would take a knee during his portion of the show.
“That report was erroneous,” NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said in a statement Sunday night to Fox News Digital.
“We watched all elements of the show during multiple rehearsals this week and were aware that Eminem was going to do that,” McCarthy continued.
Eminem taking a knee for Kaepernick? pic.twitter.com/T4p3vOHBUC
— The Recount (@therecount) February 14, 2022
The hip-hop star took a knee after his performance of “Lose Yourself” and placed a palm over his head while Dr. Dre played Tupac’s “I Ain’t Mad at Cha” on a piano.
Eminem’s gesture came in solidarity with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who first took a knee during the national anthem at a game in 2016 in protest against police brutality and racial inequality in America. Although many NFL fans applauded the peaceful protest at the time, others criticized the move as disrespectful to the military and the American flag.
Some social media users and celebrities praised Eminem for his action on one of the world’s biggest stages.
Actress and comedian Aisha Tyler tweeted: “Calling attention to injustice is ALWAYS appropriate. Eminem kneels during Super Bowl Halftime Show performance.”
@katewillis10 tweeted: “I kneel with Eminem & Kaepernick and support Black Lives Matter!”
But other social media users complained that Eminem’s gesture was disrespectful to the Super Bowl audience.
@amanda63046845 tweeted: “@Eminem so I’ve decided to cancel your culture of disrespect to the flag that many of our soldiers protect and died for. Remember next time you kneel how many mothers cried for their own who didn’t return 32 years ago. I followed you not anymore.”
The “Without Me” artist was part of five performers for this year’s Super Bowl Halftime Show including Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar. 50 Cent also joined the group in a cameo.