While many NFL teams have issued a crackdown on players choosing to exercise their right to protest police brutality peacefully, they never seemed to implement the same strict guidelines for the teams’ entertainers.
An unidentified cheerleader on the San Francisco 49ers squad kneeled during the national anthem during her team’s Thursday night game against the Oakland Raiders (Nov. 1). The cheerleader is believed to be the first to kneel during a game since the NFL protests began, Vibe reports.
According to a feature in ELLE, many cheerleaders have voiced that they do not participate in the protests due to fear of losing their jobs.
“It’s simply not the culture of cheering, they explained, and their captains wouldn’t have supported them,” the feature reads. “Also, since cheerleaders are often told how replaceable they are, they felt that they could very easily be fired for taking a stand.”
The 49ers are the team that Colin Kaepernick played for before he became an NFL free agent in 2016. He exercised his right to peacefully protest police brutality by kneeling during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which split the league and its fans. While no teams have expressed interest in bringing him on as one of their quarterbacks, he is continuing his social justice crusade and using his platform for good. Kaep is also pursuing a collusion case against the league for keeping him out.
The 49ers nor the cheerleader have commented on the action as of press time.