Kennesaw State University cheer-leading team made a shattering announcement that they will protest against the US by taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem at next weekend’s homecoming game.
According to the Associated Press, Shlondra Young, KSU cheerleader, said she along with four other members of the cheer squad will take a knee in the tunnel during the national anthem until U.S. flag “represents what it should,”.
After announcing their decision to take a knee during the playing of the national anthem at game between the KSU Owls and the North Greenville Crusaders this week, the “Kennesaw Five“immediately stirred outrage from their fans and became a subject of criticism, with some critics even calling State Representative Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) to complain about the matter.
Erhart, who chairs the committee that is responsible for funding Georgia’s public universities, stated that making political statement shouldn’t be done at football games.
“The bottom line for me in all of this is if you’re on an athletic team, I don’t care what political statement you’re making, even if it’s repugnant and hateful like the ones those cheerleaders made. Play football,” Ehrhart said. “Cheer. Play in the band. If you want to make a political statement, do it in the middle of the public quad, and that’s your right in this country.”
Another local official also criticized the cheerleaders. Calling it a “lack of respect,” Cobb Sheriff Neil Warren vented his outrage to the Marietta Daily Journal on Friday.
“My wife, Penny, had tears in her eyes, and we were both shocked to see such a lack of respect for our flag, our national anthem and the men and women that serve our nation,” Warren told the Daily Journal.
The Sheriff was incensed that the cheerleaders disrespected those who have died to protect the nation.
“Cobb County has lost sons and daughters at home and on foreign lands while protecting America,” Warren added. “And to witness these ill-informed students acting this way clearly tells me KSU needs to get busy educating these students on more than just passing their classes. They need to learn all that the flag truly represents.”
For several days after last week’s protest, one report said the girls felt no pressure over their protests. But by this Saturday, Davante Lewis, who said his sister is one of the cheerleaders, said that the girls began to “feel threatened,” especially after sheriff Warren, and other officials began speaking out.
“The county sheriff has been vocal about how the cheerleaders’ actions were disrespectful, and their fear is exacerbated now,” Lewis said according to a now-scrubbed article by Ellen Eldridge of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
According to the KSU Sentinel, a week after their initial protest, the cheerleaders were kept off the field during the anthem for this weekend’s game against the Texas Southern Tigers.
Assistant athletic director Mike DeGeorge claimed that the change occurred because of a “restructuring of the game day schedule” and not in an effort to put an end to the protests.