Did the NFL Tell Eminem Not to Kneel?

The National Football League has come under fire for allegedly telling Eminem not to kneel during his performance at the 2018 halftime show.


Eminem caused a stir at the 2017 BET Hip Hop Awards when he delivered a freestyle rap in which he denounced President Donald Trump. “That’s my word, honey, I guarantee,” he rapped. “He’s gonna get destroyed.”

At the 2018 awards ceremony, the Detroit-born rapper again took aim at Trump, this time in a pre-taped video that aired shortly after the president had delivered a controversial speech at a rally in Alabama in which he said that NFL players who kneel during the national anthem should be fired.

“The player’s union say you shouldn’t go too hard on ’em / ‘Cause they’re doing what they believe in and we got to respect that / But this is for Colin, ball up a fist / And keep that son of a bitch from interrupting our game,” Eminem rapped, referencing Colin Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback who began kneeling during the anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality and racial inequality.

At the end of the video, a message appeared on the screen: “THE STORM IS COMING.”
Some viewers interpreted Eminem’s video as a call to action, and social media was soon abuzz with rumors that the NFL had asked him not to kneel during his upcoming performance at halftime of Sunday’s game between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers.

What happened?

In October, Eminem released a rap song called “The Storm” in response to President Donald Trump’s comments about NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.

some fans wondered if the NFL had pressured the rapper not to kneel during his own performance at the 2017 BET Hip Hop Awards.

Here’s what we know about what happened.

What does this mean?

Eminem kneeling in his music video
The NFL has denied telling Eminem not to kneel in his new music video, which features the rapper performIng alongside Colin Kaepernick.

“The NFL asked Eminem to support their message (against racism and social injustice) in his own individual way,” a spokesperson for the league said in a statement to TheWrap. “We did not request that Eminem do anything else.”

Eminem’s label, Interscope Records, also denied that the NFL had made any such request. “Contrary to inaccurate reports, NFL has not banned Eminem from performing live on TV,” the statement said.

However, it is unclear whether or not the NFL actually did make such a request to Eminem or his label. In an interview with Variety, Paul Rosenberg, CEO of Shady Records (Eminem’s label), said that he was “not at liberty to discuss” whether or not the NFL had made such a request.

How do people feel about this?

The NFL has come under fire after a report surfaced that they asked Eminem not to kneel during his performance at the halftime show of the 2018 NFL Thanksgiving game. The Detroit emcee included a call to action in his set, which some feel was a jab at the league’s handling of Colin Kaepernick’s National Anthem protest.


No, the NFL did not tell Eminem not to kneel. While it is possible that they may have had a conversation with him about it, it is unlikely that they explicitly told him not to do it.

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