Exactly why Eminem took a knee remains to be seen and it's unclear whether he kneeled to honor the National Anthem protests launched by Colin Kaepernick or out of respect for the transition into Dr. Dre playing piano. It should, however, be noted that Puck reported the rapper previously clashed with the NFL over keeling “Colin Kaepernick-style.”
“The league nixed a plan by Eminem to kneel, Colin Kaepernick-style,” it reported.
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 13: Eminem performs 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)
According to the New York Post, the rumors of Eminem's desired protest were “shot down as false before the broadcast by NFL reps, who told the Post that players have been taking knees since 2016 without sanctions, so musical talent wouldn't be held to a different standard.”
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 13: 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)
Eminem weighed into the national firestorm over police brutality and COVID-19 in 2020 with a song featuring Kid Cudi in which he scolded people for not wearing masks and quarterback Drew Brees for his initial opposition to those kneeling for the National Anthem, a position Brees apologized for. The co-single, titled “The Adventures of Moonman and Slim Shady,” explored a variety of topics and gave a shout-out to George Floyd. In one verse, Eminem explicitly denounces New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees:
I had hoop dreams, now I shoot threes (What?)
Got a lil' green (Yeah), but I don't do weed (Nope)
Purp nor lean (Nah), that's Tunechi (Yeah)
That's New Orleans (What?), f**k Drew Brees (Yeah)
Eminem has repeatedly used his music in recent years to push political messages, most especially against President Trump, whom he has referred to as a racist. In 2017, he performed two freestyles in which he castigated his own fans for liking Trump. “Any fan of mine who's a supporter of his / I'm drawing in the sand a line, you're either for or against,” he said at the time.