Cheerleaders are now kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality, racism

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Athletes across the country have been sitting or kneeling during the national anthem in recent weeks to protest police brutality and racism.

But a football game in Washington, D.C. may mark the first time a squad of cheerleaders has taken a knee during the song.

Cheerleaders at Howard University joined a national protest on Saturday afternoon, September 17th by kneeling during the anthem at the AT&T Nation’s Football Classic at RFK Stadium.

Cheerleaders at Howard University joined a national protest on Saturday afternoon, September 17th by kneeling during the anthem at the AT&T Nation's Football Classic at RFK Stadium.

Zachary Johnson, executive president of Howard’s school of communications, posted a photo of the cheerleaders to Twitter during the game. It’s since attracted more than 6,700 retweets and almost 10,000 likes.

Johnson says his phone died soon after taking the photo but that the image was already gaining traction by Saturday night. Although his post went viral, Johnson said he also received many negative comments on Twitter.

“The backlash African-Americans are receiving right now is the exact reason for the protest,” Johnson told CNN. “It justifies the reason to do it in the first place.”

According to Johnson, only the cheerleaders took a knee, but many Howard football players raised their fists in solidarity.

“We can’t even exercise our constitutional right to protest without being criticized,” he said. “It’s a conversation starter.”

Similar gestures of protest have occurred around the country since 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat during the national anthem at a preseason NFL game in August. Other NFL players, including Arian Foster, Eric Reid, Jeremy Lane and Brandon Marshall, have since joined in.

More recently the movement has expanded to include college and even high school athletes.

7 comments

  • Al P

    The ignorance of these people as to what the National Anthem is all about isn’t even newsworthy. Please don’t waste our time.

  • killdahoodrats

    Why is any if this news? The only ones taking a knee are blacks and they have no respect for anyone or anything so kneeling during the national anthem is no suprise. Cut some of those free handouts that they receive because of the freedom’s that flag provides and see how quick they chimpout.

  • deletedagain

    They are protesting police brutality and racism.
    It isn’t police brutality or racism when a criminal (black or white) does not comply with police orders.
    Protesting the arrests of criminals has moved me closer to being a racist.

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