Prior to yesterday’s Super Bowl, rumors started to ramble online that the NFL was trying to find halftime headliner Dr. Censor Dre, pressure him to “still don’t like the cops” line from his 1999 hit song Still Dre†
The same report claimed that the NFL also told rapper Eminem not to get on his knees during the performance, as doing so would almost certainly divide the audience and immediately bring to mind the NFL’s utter failure in handling Colin’s situation. kaepernick. But Dre, who threw some $7 million of his own money into the halftime show, wouldn’t be told what not to say, and Eminem, at just the right moment, knelt after his performance of lose yourself†
After the halftime show, the NFL denied it had tried to limit performances in any way, but the report just sounded way too on-brand, which is exactly what the NFL would ask of performers.
“We watched all the elements of the show during multiple rehearsals this week and were aware that Eminem was going to do that,” a NFL Spokesperson said afterwards.
But knowing someone is going to do something and asking them not to do it aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. It’s entirely possible that the league was trying to whitewash the performance and Dr. Dre and Eminem told them exactly where to stick that idea. Does anyone doubt that there are forces within the NFL that would be absolutely “concerned” about disrupting conservative white fans? The whole report sounds a little too corny to be nothing more than a rumor.
And yes, “fans” were mad. Or at least fake upset enough to think they can make political hay of the moment:
In the end, it doesn’t really matter whether or not the NFL was trying to stop Eminem from kneeling, or whether it was a tribute to Colin Kaepernick or something else. It meant something to the fans, many of whom waited years for the NFL to acknowledge how poorly it handled Kaepernick’s protest, which, by the way, could have been no less intrusive or more respectful, only to silence a few. murmurs from Commissioner Roger Goodell, who only… managed to say“I wish we had listened sooner,” in August 2020, more than three years after Kaepernick was forced out of the NFL. Oh, and he still doesn’t have a job.
The NFL’s racial settlement remains poor, as evidenced by the recent class action lawsuit filed by former head coach Brian Flores, which accuses the league of discriminating against black candidates when it comes to personnel. To no one’s surprise, simply putting “End Racism” in the end zones didn’t do much, and the whole world knows it.
In a league where black men make it right 70 percent of the athletes on the field, the (almost all-white) owners have resisted any kind of real change, instead finding ways to get around the competition’s once-celebrated Rooney Rule, which persists as little more than a shadow of the playing leveler it was intended.
Regardless of what Eminem was up to by taking a knee, he had to be aware that during the halftime of the NFL’s crown jewel event, this would undoubtedly be interpreted by fans as exactly one thing: a nod to Kaepernick and all he’d given up. to take a stand (no pun intended), and a giant middle finger to the NFL.
And on Super Bowl Sunday. How glorious.
Now that The Big Game is in the rearview mirror, let’s go back to normal business. The teams start preparing the concept. The vast majority of NFL reporting returns to Xs and Os. The league will get a break from pretending to care about racial equality in any way. Roger Goodell will once again fake remorse for the lack of black head coaches. After all, the competition already threw its audience at it with a hip-hop halftime show. What else do you want?
But for a brief moment, the halftime show felt like a righteous rebuttal to everything the NFL stands for, which today is a lot of rich white guys who refuse to let anyone else into their club in any meaningful way. And it was a great moment for anyone who wants to see a real racial revolution in America’s favorite game.