SAN FRANCISCO (CelebrityAccess) — A cheerleader for the San Francisco 49ers took a knee during the performance of the national anthem during the team’s game against the Raiders on Thursday night.
An image of the moment, shared by Bay Area NBC reporter Damian Trujillo, shows one cheerleader in the backline kneeling amongst her upright colleagues.
The woman has not been identified and her motivations for kneeling were not revealed, but it echoes player previous protests by players against racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
Kneeling during the anthem has become a hot-button issue for the NFL since former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the “Star-Spangled Banner” as a form of protest against racial equality amid a series of widely publicized violent acts involving police officers.
Kaepernick was eventually joined by dozens of other NFL players, and the protest expanded during the 2017 season after President Trump criticized players who kneeled for being unpatriotic.
Trump went on to call on team owners to fire protesting players and described the act of kneeling as “disgraceful” and calling the players “sons of bitches.”
NFL team owners later voted on a new policy that would require players to stand during the anthem but delayed implementing the new measure after pushback from the player’s union.
Team owners and networks eventually decided on a workaround by not broadcasting the national anthem at the start of the game.
Some players have continued to kneel in protest over racial inequality in criminal justice.
One of the Niners cheerleaders is taking a knee. pic.twitter.com/DW5SJqh9zj
— 2004 never happened (@GatorLenny) November 2, 2018