Super Bowl 2022: NFL denies trying to stop Eminem taking knee during halftime show

Rapper made the gesture in apparent solidarity with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick

Louis Chilton
Monday 14 February 2022 07:41
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Eminem kneels during Super Bowl halftime show performance

The NFL has denied the suggestion that it tried to stop Eminem from taking a knee during the Super Bowl halftime show last night (13 February).

The rapper, real name Marshall Mathers, made the gesture while performing at the event after a rendition of “Lose Yourself”.

“Taking the knee” is a political gesture popularised by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started kneeling during the pre-game national anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of colour,” Kaepernick said in a press conference after first sitting out during the anthem.

Kaepernick’s gesture was adopted by other players in the NFL, but the league’s reaction to the protest was widely criticised. Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since the 2016 season ended.

Amid reports that the NFL had tried to censor political statements from this year’s halftime acts (which also included Dr Dre, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J Blige and Snoop Dogg), a spokesperson has denied the suggestion that the league attempted to stop Eminem taking a knee.

Per Fox News, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy described one report claiming the league had told the rapper not to make the gesture as “erroneous”.

“We watched all elements of the show during multiple rehearsals this week and were aware that Eminem was going to do that,” he said.

You can read The Independent’s review of the Super Bowl halftime show here.

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