Kennesaw 5 Cheerleaders Who Knelt During National Anthem Cut From Squad
Known as the “Kennesaw 5 Cheerleaders” five African American cheerleaders from Kennesaw State University stirred controversy last year when they knelt before the start of one of KSU’s home football games on Sept. 30. They were following in the footsteps of former NFL player Colin Kapernick, who knelt to bring attention to social injustice to African Americans. This year 4 of the young women did not make the squad.
There was plenty of praise and criticism. Georgia’s attorney general weighed in, saying students at public university could kneel, as long as it was not disruptive. But KSU took a different approach, banning cheerleaders from the pregame routine.
State lawmaker Rep. Earl Ehrhart, (R) voiced his opinion, “A University student cannot demand a taxpayer supported platform like a football field for their political speech. An individual in a University classroom cannot have unrestrained license to disrupt through speech while a professor is trying to teach others. Again, back to the time place and manner test. If we allow KSU Cheerleaders a venue without restriction, can we restrict a player with a confederate flag on his helmet? Can we restrict a Klan scum with a hood?”
This is kind of ironic Ehrhart, chairs the state House committee that decides funding every year for KSU and the rest of the University System of Georgia.
After the glaring omission from this year’s squad 11Alive’s Ashley Johnson followed up and asked questions. KSU officials stated this years tryout was more competitive, with 95 applicants compared to 61 last year.
One of the “Kennesaw 5 Cheerleaders who didn’t make the squad, Toomia Dean told 11Alive believes them taking a kneel played a huge part.
Dean also stated, “I think it played a role because I know my skills, and I had the skills two years prior to that, so I know what I can do,” she said. “I know the people who made it. I know their skills and I know my skills. But I don’t think it was a skills-based thing. Not to say I’m amazing or anything, but I know my skills and what I had.”
The real question is were 4 of the woman cut from the squad because of their protest? Also did the university to keep one girl on the squad to try and save face and not make it look like discrimination?