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Eminem takes a knee during Super Bowl halftime performance 

Eminem, whose real name is Marshall Mathers, has previously shown support for former NFL star Colin Kaepernick, who first took a knee during the national anthem at a 2016 preseason game.
Image: NFL - Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show
Eminem appears to take a knee during the halftime show at the Super Bowl on Feb. 13, 2022.Mike Segar / Reuters

In the moments after performing his hit song "Lose Yourself" to a roaring crowd at Sunday's Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show, rapper Eminem kneeled.

Born Marshall Mathers, Eminem was one of several hip-hop icons to take the stage for the halftime show, performing along with Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar and Mary J. Blige.

As the final words of "Lose Yourself" rang out, Eminem could be seen taking a knee in a move appearing to resemble the gesture that made headlines when former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem as an act of protest against police brutality and racism.

With one hand over his head, Eminem dropped to one knee, holding the pose for several moments.

Kaepernick, the former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, saw severe criticism, as well as major support, after he first took a knee at a 2016 preseason game. 

In the years since, athletes from around the world and across different sports have taken a knee in a show of solidarity.

It is unclear whether Eminem intentionally replicated the move.

However, the NFL said it was aware that the rapper had planned to take a knee during his performance as the league pushed back against reports it had resisted the move.

“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.

If Eminem did take a knee as a sign of protest, it would not be the first time that he showed support for Kaepernick and his message.

In 2017, Eminem stunned fans with a more than four-minute freestyle rap at the 2017 BET Hip Hop Awards in which he struck out at former President Donald Trump, who was deeply critical of Kaepernick, while appearing to support the former NFL star's effort.

Kaepernick himself appeared to take note of the nod, writing "I appreciate you @Eminem" in a tweet following the awards show.

Sunday's Super Bowl game came as the NFL faced fresh scrutiny over the lack of diversity in leadership across the league.

Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores sued the NFL earlier this month alleging racial discrimination in the league’s hiring practices.

He accused the league of living “in a time of the past” while paying lip service to minority hiring.

Meanwhile, in an interview that aired prior to the Super Bowl, President Joe Biden called out the lack of Black head coaches in the NFL, saying having diverse leaders in the league was a must for "generic decency."

Biden said in the interview with NBC News anchor Lester Holt that the NFL hadn't “they haven’t lived up to what they committed to and lived up to being open about hiring more minorities to run teams.”

“The whole idea that a league that is made up of so many athletes of color, as well as so diverse, that there’s not enough African American qualified coaches ‘to manage these NFL teams,’ it just seems to me that it’s a standard that they’d want to live up to,” he said.

Diversity, or the lack thereof, in the NFL's coaching roles has long been a subject of growing scrutiny, particularly with the league being made up of mostly minority players.

Last year, around 71 percent of NFL players were people of color, while only a quarter were white, according to the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida. The races of the other 4 percent were unknown.

Meanwhile, only three people of color have head coaching jobs in the league.