Eminem defied National Football League (NFL) rules on Sunday by taking a knee during the Super Bowl LVI halftime show, even after all the competing athletes were seen standing up during the national anthem.
The 49-year-old rapper made the gesture, which has become a symbol of protest against racism, after finishing his hit Lose Yourself.
At the moment when Eminem (real name Marshall Mathers) was supposed to bow, he fell to one knee, bowing his head solemnly.
He held the position for about 50 seconds as the performers moved on to Snoop Dogg’s set.
Eminem did so, despite the fact that none of the Rams or Bengals players knelt during the national anthem at the start of the game — and there was no sign of anyone else kneeling from the audience.
It’s unclear if the kneeling was a planned part of the show or a spontaneous decision, as Eminem’s publicist did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
The NFL reportedly turned down Eminem’s request to kneel during the speech, but he did so anyway, contrary to their stance on the matter.
Eminem (left) took a knee during the Super LVI Halftime Show after the NFL turned down his request to do so during the performance. The 49-year-old rapper did it anyway, challenging the league’s stance on the issue.
The rapper’s fans were shocked to see their idol take a knee. Few fans or players at SoFi Stadium made the same gesture when the national anthem was played before kick-off.
Despite Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams players standing still during country star Mickey Guyton’s 1-minute, 51-second performance of The Star-Spangled Banner, Eminem’s defiance should come as no surprise.
The rapper has repeatedly spoken out against racial injustice despite accusations that some of his lyrics are racist.
In 2017, Eminem released a song called Untouchable that refers to white men as “untouchables” because they don’t seem to be bothered by the police brutality and suppression of human rights that black men and women face every day in the US.
Eminem discusses everything from institutional racism to the Black Lives Matter movement in the song.
“Black boy, black boy, we won’t lie to you / Black boy, black boy, we don’t like the look of you,” he reads at the beginning of the song, adding later: “Throughout history, African Americans have been treated like shit / and I admit there were times when it was embarrassing to be a white boy.”
Before the match started, all eyes were on the players of both teams to see if they would take a knee, a popular symbolic gesture against racism.
All Los Angeles Rams players stood during the playing of the national anthem prior to the NFL Super Bowl LVI game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The national anthem is sung before an NFL Super Bowl LVI football game, where Rams players can be seen standing behind the American flag.
In 2020, the rapper and Kid Cudi teamed up for their first collaboration, and it’s full of timely commentary about racial inequality and access to public health.
At the time, the duo released a lyric video for The Adventures of Moonman and Slim Shady that lashed out at dirty cops, NFL player Drew Brees, and people who refuse to wear a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A bunch of morons in the office / Half of us are walking around like a zombie apocalypse,” Eminem raps on the track. “The other half is just pissed / And doesn’t want to wear a mask / And they just scoff / And that’s how you end up catching [stuff] from them / I just used the same basket as you, / Now I’m in … the casket from your coffin.”
The four-and-a-half-minute song references George Floyd and Ahmad Arbery, whose murders sparked protests against racism and police brutality around the world.
It also targeted New Orleans Saints quarterback Breeze, who came under fire in June after redoubling his disapproval of Colin Kaepernick and others who knelt during the national anthem. Breeze later apologized for his “insensitive” comments, in which “there was no awareness and no compassion or empathy whatsoever.”
“And God is my jury, so when I die / I don’t worry / Pray to George Floyd and Ahmad Arbery,” continues Eminem. “How… is it that there are so many dirty cops?” / Stop the man, please / Officer, I’m sorry / But I can’t breathe / When you’re on top of me / Your…knee on my carotid artery.’