Eminem's Super Bowl Halftime Gesture Has Twitter Reeling

The Super Bowl LVI Pepsi halftime show featured an iconic lineup of '90s hip hop artists and rappers. Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar performed a mashup of some of their most recognizable songs atop an intricate set with a bevy of backup dancers. The entertainers reportedly didn't make much money (if any) for their performances, Puck News reported. In fact, Dr. Dre might have used as much as $7 million to help pay for the Super Bowl halftime setup price tag

Of course, none of the artists is known for being a rule follower, least of all Eminem. All week long headlines discussed the rappers and what they might do during the performance. Complex even reported that Dr. Dre jokingly mentioned he had to talk Snoop Dogg and Eminem out of exposing themselves in a wardrobe malfunction somewhat reminiscent of the one that happened in 2004 when Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson headlined the primetime show. "The Real Slim Shady" singer seemed to break a reported agreement with the NFL not to kneel during the Super Bowl LVI halftime show, and the unsanctioned move had Twitter reeling.

Eminem kneeled after his Super Bowl LVI performance

The NFL officials reportedly nixed any idea that the performers might have had to kneel during the evening's halftime event, Puck News reported. Kneeling became a hotly contested issue in the NFL after former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick famously took a knee in protest. After Eminem finished performing "Lose Yourself," he very purposefully took a knee, leaving his head bowed as the show moved back over to Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. 

HuffPo reporter Phil Lewis tweeted, "Eminem kneels during the halftime performance, after NFL officials reportedly shut down the idea." Many others on Twitter felt the rapper took a knee in solidarity with Kaepernick, who no longer plays in the league. 

While many Twitter users felt that the rapper kneeled because of Kaepernick's protests, at least one Twitter user had another explanation for the moment. "Or Dre started playing Tupac's 'I ain't mad at ya,' and Eminem took a knee respecting a legend. Em was close with Tupac's mother. But I could be wrong," tweeted a fan. Despite a few alternative ideas, the majority of those talking about Eminem kneeling during the Super Bowl halftime show felt it was a form of protest.

NFL was aware Eminem would take a knee

Although initial reports said the NFL nixed the idea of Eminem taking a knee during the Super Bowl LVI Pepsi halftime show, ESPN reported that officials were aware of the rapper's plans to kneel because they'd watched the rehearsals during the week.

"We watched all elements of the show during multiple rehearsals this week and were aware that Eminem was going to do that,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy said. In addition, since 2016, NFL players have taken a knee without sanctions, so the league wouldn't hold performers to a different standard. 

Although Eminem's kneeling wasn't nixed by the league, The New York Post reported other aspects of the show did get cut. For instance, the outfit Snoop Dogg planned to wear appeared gang-related, so officials asked him to wear something else. Reportedly, Dr. Dre felt "disgustingly censored" because the NFL felt uncomfortable with the line "still not loving police" in the song "Still D.R.E." However, Dr. Dre kept that line in the song, despite concerns that it could be divisive.

Fans loved the Super Bowl halftime show

The Daily Mail reported that last night's Super Bowl halftime show was widely considered one of the best performance in recent history, despite the potential controversy's from Eminem's taking a knee in the style of former former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The publication also noted that Eminem's kneeling served as a painful reminder of how the league handled Kaepernick's keeling in protest against police brutality and racial inequality in the U.S. 

While the halftime show had plenty of fans, it also received some backlash with some people complaining it wasn't relatable. Ted Lieu tweeted in response to one person's complaint, "Mary J. Blige has had 41 singles inside the top 100 of Billboard. Eminem has had 22 top ten hits on Billboard. Have you considered that perhaps most Americans did relate to the halftime show?"

Many members of Generation X expressed their enjoyment of hearing the artists of their youths, Eminem's kneeling and all. Steve Schmidt summed it up tweeting, "The Super Bowl half time show will probably be the high water mark for Gen X. The 15 minutes we got to rule!"