Shaquille O'Neal Slams Critics of Rihanna's Halftime Show: 'Shut Your Face'

The four-time NBA champion defended Rihanna's Super Bowl Halftime Show performance where the singer revealed her pregnancy

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 09: NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal attends the grand opening of Shaquille's At L.A. Live at LA Live on March 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images); PHOENIX, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 09: Rihanna poses on stage during the Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show Press Conference at Phoenix Convention Center on February 09, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Roc Nation)
Photo: Michael Tullberg/Getty; Kevin Mazur/Getty for Roc Nation

Shaquille O'Neal is part of the Rihanna Navy — and won't hear a word against her.

The four-time NBA champion, 50, came to Rihanna's defense on The Big Podcast with Shaq Friday, sending a message to all of her critics to "shut the f--- up" about her Super Bowl performance.

"All you people disrespecting Rihanna, shut your face. Shut it up," O'Neal said. "We living in a world where people got too much freedom, keep your f--ing thoughts to yourself."

He added, "She did a wonderful job. She's pregnant, she blessed it, she did her thing, she didn't fall. Just leave it there. All you superstars that's disrespectful and causing beef, shut your face."

Rihanna performs during Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona
Rihanna performing at Super Bowl LVII. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Roc Nation

O'Neal shared that the Super Bowl was his first time seeing Rihanna live, even though he's been a fan of hers for years, and said that he thought she did a "great job." He also criticized the people who were taking issue with her from behind their Twitter screens, rather than to her face as he suggested they should have done.

He added that if he was dating the nine-time Grammy-winning artist — who turned 35 Monday — he would have to "get at" her haters.

"If she was my woman and I seen one of you superstars do that, I'm gonna have to get at you," he said. "Rappers. Presidential candidates. I'm gonna have to get at you. Leave her alone."

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 12: Rihanna performs during Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Roc Nation); NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 10: Former U.S. President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower to meet with New York Attorney General Letitia James for a civil investigation on August 10, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
Former President Donald Trump (right) blasted Rihanna's (left) Super Bowl halftime performance on his Truth Social platform Sunday. Kevin Mazur/Getty for Roc Nation; James Devaney/GC

While not explicitly stating it, O'Neal may have been referring to former President Donald Trump's tweet slamming the "Diamond" singer's performance where he stated her show was "the single worst Halftime Show in Super Bowl history" and critiqued her for using "foul and insulting language."

The "insulting language" in question may be referring to a 2020 photo where Rihanna posed beside a spray-painted car that said "F--- Trump." The singer has also been vocal about her disdain for Trump in addition to the photo.

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In November 2020, Rihanna transformed her Instagram feed to read "count every vote we'll wait." and shared a similar message on Twitter with a tweet reading "Count 👏🏿 Every 👏🏿 Vote 👏🏿 We'll 👏🏿 Wait."

She has also previously asked Trump to not use her music in his campaign or rallies after learning from a reporter that he played "Don't Stop The Music" at a rally in 2018. "Not for much longer…me nor my people would ever be at or around one of those tragic rallies, so thanks for the heads up Philip!" she responded.

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