San Francisco 49ers cheerleader kneels for US anthem
A member of the San Francisco 49ers cheerleading squad took a knee during the national anthem at an NFL game, mirroring the recent player protests against racism and police brutality.
The unidentified woman was pictured kneeling before Thursday night's game against the Oakland Raiders in Santa Clara, California, and the image quickly made the rounds on social media.
It's at least the second time one of the Gold Rush squad protested this way during the anthem. Last Christmas Eve, two 49ers cheerleaders also did so before the team's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars
The 49ers are the former team of Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback who kicked off the protests of kneeling during the anthem back in 2016 to bring attention to racial inequality in the United States
He was joined by his teammate Eric Reid and, later, with others in the league. Since then Kaepernick's action evolved into a movement that has stretched to each American pro league, with many other NFL players also choosing to follow suit in protest, with some linking arms in solidarity.
During a post-game interview on August 26, 2016, Kaepernick said: "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color."
"To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
Earlier in August, several of the NFL players who protested during the anthem before pre-season games were criticized by US President Donald Trump.
On September 24, 2017, more than 200 players sat or knelt during the anthem in response to Trump calling on owners to 'fire' players who took part.
“You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn't be playing, you shouldn't be there. Maybe you shouldn't be in the country,” Trump said in an interview.
Jed York, the chief executive of the 49ers, has repeatedly come out in support of players who kneel. He was the sole NFL team owner “to abstain from a vote by the owners that initially required players to stand for the anthem”, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Despite being a starter for the San Francisco 49ers, leading them to the Super Bowl in 2013, Kaepernick has not been recruited by an NFL team since becoming a free agent at the end of the 2016 season.
The fact that teams with a need for a quarterback have passed up the chance to sign Kaepernick lead him to questioning the owners' intentions and believe his political views are his reason for being sidelined. He is currently waging a collusion case against the NFL for blacklisting him from the league.
Under the league's Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), both the teams and the NFL itself are forbidden from coming together to deprive a player of employment. The ruling means there is sufficient evidence to allow the case to go to trial.