“Last night, I felt especially proud to be from the great city of Philadelphia,” Mill told John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia, in a message the broadcaster posted to social media Monday. “All the heart that the Eagles showed in winning the Super Bowl has given the best fans in the world real hope and inspiration and I’m truly humbled.
“I wish my current situation was different, and that I could be with my brothers on that team, and the other Eagles fans, in celebrating this once-in-a-lifetime experience,” the rapper continued, per Clark. “But I have faith that truth and justice will win out in the end.”
Clark accompanied that message with a video of the Eagles running onto the field for the start of Super Bowl LII as “Dreams and Nightmares” blared at Minneapolis’s U.S. Bank Stadium. The team chanted along with the lyrics in a joyous locker room after defeating the Patriots, 41-33, to bring Philadelphia its first NFL championship since 1960.
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Philly’s @MeekMill gave me statement on Eagles winning SuperBowl coming out to his song and dancing to it in lockeroom after game 🔥🔥 “Last night, I felt especially proud to be from the great city of Philadelphia. All the heart that the Eagles showed in winning the Super Bowl has given the best fans in the world real hope and inspiration and I’m truly humbled. I wish my current situation was different, and that I could be with my brothers on that team, and the other Eagles fans, in celebrating this once-in-a-lifetime experience. But I have faith that truth and justice will win out in the end.” #superbowldreams #eagles #flyeaglesfly #philly #meekmill #superbowlchamps @malcolmjenkins27 @realronalddarby @l_blount29 @yeroc_ @mackhollins @calhounpresident @rodmcleod4 @greengoblin @sack_55 @sidneyjonesiv @mykey_k @rd32_era @nbcphiladelphia @nbcsphilly @power99philly @real1061philly @diddy @justintimberlake @richforever @torreysmithwr @laflamablanca95
The Eagles also played the song as they took the field at their home stadium for the NFC championship game two weeks ago, when, having lost starting quarterback Carson Wentz during the regular season, they were underdogs to the Vikings, as they were to the Patriots. Thus the start of the agitated second section of “Dreams and Nightmares” — with the words, “Hold up, wait a minute/Y’all thought I was finished?” — held particular significance to the team.
Clark reported in January that the Eagles’ special teams coach played the song in a team meeting the day before that victory over Minnesota, which propelled Philadelphia to the Super Bowl. He quoted Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins as saying “it just gave us that juice.”
“Dreams and Nightmares” from Philly’s @MeekMill has become #Eagles anthem. Special teams coach Dave Fipp played it in meeting Saturday. Pregame was lit 🔥🔥🔥— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) January 22, 2018
Malcolm Jenkins says “it just gave us that juice. Ive never heard the Linc that loud since Ive been here” pic.twitter.com/osmmBbKvQu
“It really lifted my spirit to hear the team rally around my songs because that’s why I make music — to inspire others and bring people together,” Mill told Clark from prison in January, shortly after the win over the Vikings. “The Eagles have also motivated me with the way they’ve overcome tough situations and injuries to succeed this year.”
Mill, whose given name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, was sent to prison in November for parole violations stemming from a 2008 conviction on gun and drug charges. The two- to four-year sentence handed down by Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge Genece Brinkley sparked outrage in many quarters, including beyond the hip-hop and sports realms where Mill is widely revered, for being far too severe.
At the time, some pointed to the fact that neither an assistant district attorney involved in the case nor Mill’s probation officer had recommended that he receive jail time. Since then, the phrase “Free Meek Mill” has become a rallying cry for his supporters, and Timberwolves forward Karl-Anthony Towns, a Philadelphia-area native, wore it on an Eagles jersey as he attended Super Bowl LII in person.
Several other sports stars tweeted out versions of “Free Meek” as they congratulated the Eagles for winning the Super Bowl. The 30-year-old rapper recorded “Dreams and Nightmares” in 2012, as the first song on his debut album, and it has retained great significance among hip-hop fans.
Now you really gotta Free Meek Mill!!!— Marcus Morris (@MookMorris2) February 5, 2018
Welp! Philly won! Free Meek Mill!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!— Tyler Lockett (@TDLockett12) February 5, 2018
FREE MEEK— Lonzo Ball (@ZO2_) February 5, 2018
In November, the Eagles’ Malcolm Jenkins and Vinny Curry were among those who attended a rally in support of Mill outside Philadelphia’s Criminal Justice Center. “We aren’t going to act like Meek Mill is an angel or that he’s perfect. He’s a man. A man who has made some mistakes and for 10 years has paid for those mistakes,” Jenkins said.
Sixers legend Julius Erving was also there, and he told the crowd, “We rally today because we all believe in him and that the punishment bestowed upon him is excessive, is cruel and it’s motivated by unsavory circumstances. … So this practice of jailing people when you feel like it, against the recommendation of your own constituents — and in this case it was a district attorney and it was his probation officer – that’s got to stop.”
“Meek, you know, he’s locked up right now,” the Eagles’ Derek Barnett told NFL.com last week. “So we have to hold the city down for him.”
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