A cheerleader for the San Francisco 49ers was seen kneeling during the American national anthem before Thursday night’s game against the Oakland Raiders. The incident, which took place at the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, seems to be the first public protest by a National Football League cheerleader.
Immediately after the occurrence, photos began surfacing all over Twitter of the young woman kneeling, while eight of her other cheer mates stood for the anthem. Neither the 49ers nor the suspected cheerleader have commented to the media, regarding the incident.
The cheerleader, who has yet to be named, seems to have been acting in a form of protest; paralleling ex-49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protests against racial injustice and police brutality, beginning in 2016. Since Kaepernick’s controversial display, numerous other NFL players have taken similar stances against racial adversity, while some public opinion has considered his move ‘unpatriotic.’
President Donald Trump has openly criticized the act of kneeling during the national anthem, calling the act ‘disrespectful’ and insinuating NFL owners should fire any player who acts in such a manner. POTUS has gone as far as to call said individuals ‘sons of b*tches’ and has stated that the mere act has lowered NFL’s ratings and has ruined the integrity of football.
In September 2018, NFL owners voted unanimously that all players must stand during the national anthem; all who fail to stand will subject their team to a fine.
Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers in March of 2017, making him a free agent. His inability to be drafted has led to his filing of a grievance complaint in November of the same year, as he felt the NFL had colluded against him to keep him from playing.
As of August 2018, the NFL’s request to dismiss Kaepernick’s case had been denied and will allow the quarterback to take his case to trial.