Eminem Takes a Knee During 2022 Super Bowl Halftime Performance

·3 min read

Eminem seemingly continued the movement Colin Kaepernick started years ago by taking a knee during the Super Bowl 56 halftime show.

After performing his Oscar and Grammy-winning track "Lose Yourself" on Sunday at SoFi Stadium, Eminem sunk to his knee and held his head in his hand while Dr. Dre performed some of Tupac's "I Ain't Mad at Cha" in a tribute.

Despite reports that the kneeling was against the NFL's wishes, a spokesman told USA Today reporter Mike Freeman that "the NFL watched every rehearsal this week and that element was included."

During the 2016 season, former quarterback Kaepernick began kneeling while the national anthem played at the beginning of each of his NFL games to protest racial injustice, police brutality and systemic oppression. The year following his polarizing protests, Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers. Since then, he has been unable to sign with any NFL team.

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Kaepernick and fellow protester Eric Reid filed grievances with the league in October 2017 that accused owners of colluding to prevent him from signing with a team. The pair settled in Feb. 2019, with Kaepernick reportedly getting less than $10 million — $2 million less than his 2016 base salary — according to ESPN.

Eminem
Eminem

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Eminem

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In 2020, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the league's handling of Kaepernick's protest, issuing an apology. He said at the time, "I wish we had listened earlier, Kaep, to what you were kneeling about and what you were trying to bring attention to."

Eminem mentioned Kaepernick in the lyrics of his 2020 song "Black Magic," rapping, "I ain't gon' stand for that s– / like Kaep for the national anthem."

Ahead of the halftime show, Eminem said during an interview with SiriusXM's Sway in the Morning on Shade 45 that performing during the big game was "f---ing nerve-wracking."

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"This to me… there's nothing more final than live TV. So, if you f--- up, your f--- up is there forever," he said.

During the show, Eminem performed in addition to Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg and surprise guest 50 Cent. The rapper said during the radio appearance that he hadn't anticipated quite how intricate Dr. Dre's vision for the show was.

"When the whole thing started going down and we were like, 'OK, this might be actually serious.' I was trying to envision what Dre. might do," Eminem explained. "I was thinking like, yeah, that's dope that all of us are gonna rap together, right, and that kind of thing, but I didn't expect the production to be like this."