Well, this is a first. During the Thursday Night Football game between San Francisco and Oakland, a 49ers cheerleader took a knee during the National Anthem at Levi’s Stadium.
The cheerleader, who has yet to be identified, took a knee as the roster of uniformed women stood around her, their pom-poms held aloft.
She follows the model set by her team’s former quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, who started the kneeling during the national anthem movement a few years back to protest racial inequality, police brutality and the “oppression” of African-American football players. It didn’t make a lot of sense then, let alone now.
In 2016, after facing backlash for the disrespectful anthem protests, Kaepernick quickly became a free agent. His “toxic” public relations status after igniting the controversy secured his spot as a player that no manager or team owner would touch with a 100 foot pole. Last year, he filed a legal grievance accusing NFL owners of colluding against him and preventing him from being signed to any team.
From what we can tell, the Thursday night protest appears to be the first instance of an NFL cheerleader kneeling during the national anthem. Earlier in the season, several Miami Dolphins knelt in their games.
While the anthem kneeling has died down significantly in the 2018-19 NFL season, the league has taken repeated hits in the ratings from conservative (former) fans who gave up on the league last year. Years from now, top brass at NFL headquarters will still be kicking themselves for not quashing the kneeling movement when it first started — especially as they face future competition from the soon-to-be launched XFL.
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