College, high school cheerleaders may take a knee but NFL cheerleaders won’t

September 17, 2017 Atlanta: The Falcons cheerleaders perform before kickoff against the Packers in a NFL football game on Sunday, September 17, 2017, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Cheerleaders from Kennesaw State University were noticeably absent from the field at Saturday night’s pre-game activities.

Read More: KSU cheerleaders kept off field after some knelt during national anthem

The week prior, on Sept. 30, the cheerleaders had been on the field pre-game when some members of the squad opted to take a knee during the national anthem.

School officials said the change had nothing to do with the protest, but as the AJC reported last week, State Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, said that KSU President Sam Olens would likely keep the squad off the field. There were also reports that Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren was noting which cheerleaders were kneeling during the game.

These were not the first cheerleaders to take a knee in what has become a widespread form of protest in football stadiums nationwide, but while some high school and college cheerleaders have made the choice to participate, the same can’t be said of their professional counterparts.

Not a single NFL cheerleader has taken a knee during the national anthem.

Regardless of how they may personally feel, the risks, said many, are just too great.

For a story on the topic, Elle.com attempted to interview more than 50 NFL cheerleaders, team captains and cheerleader coordinators. All of them either declined to be interviewed or never responded to the request. Instead, the story quotes former NFL cheerleaders, both on and off the record, and not one of them said they would have participated in the protest.

To do so would run against the culture of cheering, said the story.

Cheerleaders are expected to be fun, bubbly and positive, not Debbie Down-On-One-Knee.

Read More: This Is Why NFL Cheerleaders Haven’t Taken a Knee

The former cheerleaders expressed sentiments ranging from feeling that protesting is not part of their job and would take the spotlight away from players to one cheerleader of color who said she would feel uncomfortable kneeling in front of a mostly white squad and mostly white audience.

To put it plainly, NFL cheerleaders (who barely make minimum wage and receive no health benefits) are far more disposable than the multi-million dollar athletes and team owners who are doing the protesting. Former cheerleaders said it makes sense that the women on the field would fear for their jobs.

“I’m not shocked that they are not protesting,” said one former cheerleader to ELLE.com. “It’s not that we women don’t have an opinion; we have opinions. Many of us have other jobs while we are cheering, there are doctors and politicians out there on the field. We do this because we love to dance, and our job as cheerleaders isn’t to create controversy. It’s to make everyone happy.”

Reader Comments 0

4 comments
Babycat
Babycat

Anyone that can not respect the flag should remember that, while not perfect, this country affords them many privileges that other countries can only dream of.  Don't like it?  Please leave.

jmc1007
jmc1007

Colin K and the rest of the protestors like him are protesting perceived racial injustice and minorities being kept down.  The only one keeping them down are themselves  because  we have had 60 years of affirmative action, food stamps, special priveledges for those of color, lowering entrance exams to colleges for those disadvantage, low loans housing programs, "black pride" slogans, black is beautiful slogans, a black President, black attorney general, blackish tv shows, and on and on and on. Good lord, if whites today even mention their race in regards to something, they are automatically called racist. etc. Race relations were getting better since MLK made his famous speech about being color blind. But Obama has rekindled the race wars, because the Democrats rely on the race wars to stay in power. Government dependency has destroyed the black culture with more black on black crime than white on black crime and more fatherless black families than ever. Sports has offered those trapped in these areas as a way to get out and fulfill the American dream and they could not do this anywhere else in the world. But yet they want to trash that same country as being racist. You want racism? Go to Africa country where just because you are a different shade of black you are discriminated against from other blacks. There is still black on black slavery in Africa too....

mamanelle5
mamanelle5

@jmc1007 I totally agreed with everything you said, except the part about Obama rekindling racism.

MauryL
MauryL

cheerleaders of color will be protesting all over the country against the racism by white people