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Performer's Halftime Show Tribute to Colin Kaepernick Had the NFL's Blessing

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Sunday Super Bowl between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams had a particularly special halftime show as hip-hop artists took the stage as the main performers — the first time that hip-hop has been the main feature of the Super Bowl intermission.

The show included some of the greatest stars, some of the “original gangsters” of hip-hop: Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar, and Eminem. 50 Cent also made a surprise guest appearance.

But it was rapper Eminem who particularly drew attention.

While performing his 2002 hit song “Lose Yourself,” Eminem took a knee, CNN reported. He then remained kneeling for part of Dre’s performce of “I Ain’t Mad at Cha.”

The kneeling gesture has been a controversy since 2016, when former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to protest “police brutality and social injustice,” as The New York Times put it at the time.

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Eminem has previously been publicly supportive of Kaepernick and has even included lyrics about him in one of his songs, CNN reported.

During the 2017 BET Hip Hop Awards, the rapper called out then-President Donald Trump and supported Kaepernick in a freestyle rap.

“F*** that, this is for Colin, ball up a fist and keep that s*** balled like Donald the b****.”

Then in Eminem’s 2017 song “Untouchable,” some of his lyrics are: “Somebody has to be the sacrificial lamb … So they call it a Kaepernick tantrum … If you don’t stand for the national anthem … We raise it, you better praise it.”

Did you watch the Super Bowl halftime show?

But when Eminen took a knee at Sunday’s game, rumors flew that this would upset the NFL.

The website Puck reported that the NFL had “nixed a plan by Eminem to kneel, Colin Kaepernick-style.”

However, the NFL denied the claim and said that league executives were aware of what was going to happen during Eminem’s performance.

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“That report was erroneous,” NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy told Fox News Digital in a statement.

“We watched all elements of the show during multiple rehearsals this week and were aware that Eminem was going to do that.”

Eminem was not the only one kneeling at the Super Bowl, though.

Two Los Angeles Rams players, safeties Terrell Burgess and Nick Scott, were also seen kneeling during the anthem, The Wall Street Journal reported. Both players have taken a knee during the anthem before, according to the Journal.

CNN media reporter Brian Stelter tweeted that NFL public relations said performing artists, like on-the-field personnel, were free to kneel if they chose.

“NFL PR says Eninem’s kneeling was NOT a surprise,” Stelter wrote. “‘We watched all elements of the show during multiple rehearsals.’

“MORE: ‘A player or coach could have taken a knee and there would have been no repercussions so there was no reason to tell an artist she or he could not do so.'”

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