NFL officials said late Sunday that they were not surprised by singer Eminem kneeling during the halftime show at Super Bowl LVI, a move that is seen as a protest against police misconduct, because they had watched him do it during rehearsals.
Eminem performed with hip-hop stars Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar during the nearly 15-minute hip-hop halftime show at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, Sunday. As he ended his set with his hit “Lose Yourself,” he went down on one knee, put his right hand on his head and looked downward. He held the position as Dr. Dre played a portion of Tupac Shakur’s song, “I Ain’t Mad at Cha.”
Some media reports claimed the NFL had told Eminem in advance that he could not kneel during the show. An NFL spokesperson said those reports were false and that the league knew what he planned to do.
“We watched all elements of the show during multiple rehearsals this week and were aware that Eminem was going to do that,” NFL league spokesperson Brian McCarthy said.
The singer’s move was in support of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who during the 2016 season, began to take a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality and social injustice. Other players followed suit, and the move created widespread cultural controversy. The former Forty-Niners quarterback has been out of football since 2016.
According to The Associated Press, the NFL denied reports that it had attempted to stop Eminem from making the gesture.
The Los Angeles Rams came from behind to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-20.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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