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‘Utmost Respect’: Eminem Garners Praise and Questions After Kneeling During Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show, NFL Says It Was ‘Aware’ Despite Previous Reports

Sunday’s Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, was a legendary event featuring some of the most influential artists in hip-hop. As fans took to their social media pages to hype up the numerous musical acts, including Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar during their respective set, Eminem was being praised for something else he did while on one of the biggest platforms in the country. 

Following a performance of his 2002 Grammy Award-winning single, “Lose Yourself” from the motion picture film “8 Mile,” the 49-year-old, whose real name is Marshall Bruce Mathers III, took a knee while putting his right hand on his head, looking downward.

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 13: (L-R) Anderson .Paak and Eminem perform during the Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show at SoFi Stadium on February 13, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Fans had much to say, praising the Michigan native for bravery, including one Twitter user who commented, “I didn’t know about the whole @Eminem kneeling drama, but I do now, and that’s my motherf-cking man.”

“As if whites weren’t already furious at the Halftime Show. Utmost respect for the performers, Eminem and Kap (for kneeling in the first place),” another fan noted.

A third person commented, “It takes a special kind of stupid, to hate Eminem for kneeling in solidarity for African American injustice.”

However, some expressed more was needed than just the act itself alone. Journalist Jemele Hill called the rapper out to publicly clarify precisely why he was kneeling, writing, “Hope Eminem explains why he was kneeling.”

Elsewhere she posted, “For the record, I think I know why Eminem was kneeling, but if it’s related to Colin Kaepernick, he should say that. Not a criticism. But would be a powerful addition to the conversation.” 

While the award-winning rapper hasn’t addressed the subtle protest yet, the National Football League claims it was “aware” that the “Slim Shady” emcee would be taking a knee at some point during the night. The organization also denied reports that it banned the rapper, who is white, from kneeling at any moment. 

League spokesman Brian McCarthy told ESPN, “We watched all elements of the show during multiple rehearsals this week and were aware that Eminem was going to do that.”

Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality and social injustice during the 2016 season. Many more players and public figures have since followed suit. The protest garnered backlash and seemingly cost the former 49ers quarterback his football career. 

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