Entertainment Sports 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 By Rebecca Aizin Rebecca Aizin Rebecca Aizin is an Editorial Assistant at PEOPLE. She has been working at PEOPLE since 2023. Her work has previously appeared on Elle, HGTV and Backstage. People Editorial Guidelines Published on February 20, 2023 03:50 PM Share Tweet Pin Email 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 performing at Super Bowl LVII. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Roc Nation See Pregnant Rihanna Celebrate Triumphant Super Bowl Halftime Performance Backstage with Friends 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." Trump Takes Jab at Rihanna and 'Her Stylist' After Super Bowl Halftime Show: 'Epic Fail' 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. Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. 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.