NFL Cheerleader Kneels During the National Anthem, Internet Firestorm Ensues
Even though Colin Kaepernick hasn’t thrown an NFL pass since Jan. 1, 2017, his impact on the league continues to linger.
There are still small pockets of NFL players who continue to protest during the national anthem in 2018, but that’s hardly news considering Kaepernick still has close friends in the league.
What’s a little more surprising is the fact that Kaepernick’s influence has begun to affect other people in the NFL, not just players.
Case in point: The San Francisco 49ers, Kaepernick’s former team, found themselves in an all-too-familiar situation of having negative headlines tied to them due to anthem protests. But this time, it didn’t involve Kaepernick or anyone who may have played with him.
This time, the Niners find themselves under fire thanks to a cheerleader who choose the national anthem as the optimal time to protest.
One of the Niners cheerleaders is taking a knee. pic.twitter.com/DW5SJqh9zj
— 2004 never happened (@GatorLenny) November 2, 2018
The unidentified brunette took a knee prior to San Francisco’s 34-3 win over the hapless Oakland Raiders at Levi’s Stadium on Thursday night.
Unfortunately for the Niners, despite their best and possibly unintentional efforts to scrub Kaepernick from their history, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the two will forever be indelibly linked.
Many who find anthem protests extremely disrespectful to the flag, the military and police officers have long felt that the Niners could have nipped this entire ordeal in the bud when Kaepernick first took a seat during the anthem. They obviously chose not to, and the issue festered to the point that it sparked a feud with the president of the United States.
The 49ers had the first player protest the anthem, and now they have the first cheerleader to protest the anthem, according to HuffPost. Much to the chagrin of the Niners’ brass, San Francisco is more known for anthem protests in recent years than winning games. The team, albeit with an injured starting quarterback this year, is mired in a 2-7 rut. Since Kaepernick began kneeling, the Niners have posted an abysmal 10-31 record.
Unsurprisingly, the cheerleader’s protest drew an immediate rebuke from many on social media.
She should be fired
— violet Tittle (@VioletTittle) November 2, 2018
@49ers why do you employ a cheerleader that disrespects the flag. She should be fired immediately @nflcommish @realDonaldTrump #NFL #49ersvRaiders pic.twitter.com/MtNb32z3rt
— AllezYNWA1 (@AYnwa1) November 2, 2018
The @49ers should be ashamed for letting this #cheerleader kneel during the National Anthem. Does she not know what the flag stands for? pic.twitter.com/5WMKHI145N
— michael miller (@22millermichael) November 2, 2018
The cheerleader’s actions certainly raised some eyebrows.
On the one hand, she is well within her rights to peaceably protest.
But on the other hand, her actions gave credence to legendary Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach’s well-noted concerns about cheerleaders. Auerbach said they were superfluous and would distract from the game, as noted by The Boston Globe. The Niners cheerleader’s protest certainly took attention away from a resounding win and an outstanding debut for the virtually unknown quarterback Nick Mullens.
Her actions also fly in the face of many former cheerleaders, interviewed by Elle.com, who felt that it wasn’t their place to protest the anthem.
“Bottom line, cheerleaders are a little fish in a big pond,” said Michele Wright, a broadcast journalist and former Jacksonville Jaguars cheerleader. “Although they are of great worth and value to the football experience and their respective communities, many are undervalued. So to remain neutral, they wouldn’t take a knee.”
“We do this because we love to dance, and our job as cheerleaders isn’t to create controversy. It’s to make everyone happy,” another former cheerleader told Elle.com.
Love it or hate it, the Niners cheerleader’s actions certainly didn’t “make everyone happy.”
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