Even College Cheerleaders Have Joined Colin Kaepernick’s National Anthem Protest

Add an entire college cheerleading squad to the growing list of athletes joining Colin Kaepernick's protest against police brutality and racism. The Howard University cheerleaders took a knee while the national anthem played at the AT&T Nation's Football Classic at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., last Saturday. Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, made headlines when he started the protest movement last month. "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media when the image of him sitting down went viral in late August. The latest viral image — featuring the cheerleaders from the recent game — was tweeted by Zachary Johnson, executive president of the school of communications at Howard University. "The backlash African-Americans are receiving right now is the exact reason for the protest," he told CNN. "It justifies the reason to do it in the first place."

He also said
that, even though only the cheerleaders were kneeling, many football players also protested by raising their fists. Refinery29 has reached out to the squad at the historically Black university with an interview request, but has not yet heard back. Since Kaepernick started protesting last month, 16 Black people have been killed by the police, according to The Guardian's database of police killings in the U.S. This includes the fatal shootings of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, OK, and Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, NC.

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