KSU cheerleaders link arms for national anthem


In the wake of weeks of criticism, Kennesaw State University cheerleaders did not take the knee during the national anthem at Saturday’s home game.

However, some of the cheerleaders instead linked arms while they were standing on the field for the first time after being relegated to a tunnel for the national anthem for recent games.

KSU president Sam Olens announced Wednesday he was reinstituting the prior practice of allowing cheerleaders on the football field during the national anthem.

Kennesaw State has been embroiled in controversy since five African-American cheerleaders took a knee during the anthem before the football team’s Sept. 30 game and the university’s decision days later to keep all cheerleaders off the field during the anthem, which some felt violated the students’ free speech rights.

The kneel-down is part of an effort, which began last year with some pro football players, to bring awareness to police misconduct and racial inequality. KSU football players are not on the field before the anthem.

KSU has said the change to the pre-game program in October had nothing to do with the decision of some cheerleaders to kneel during the anthem. However, Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren boasted in text messages first obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to state Rep. Earl Ehrhart that they had persuaded Olens to find a way to keep cheerleaders from continuing such protests. The Georgia Board of Regents is conducting a special review of how KSU responded to the cheerleaders’ actions.

Olens, the former Georgia attorney general and Cobb County commission chairman, was criticized by some as caving to pressure from longtime, politically powerful friends who opposed the cheerleaders’ actions.

Since KSU’s change, the cheerleaders who’ve knelt during the anthem had continued to do so in a tunnel under the stadium. Before Saturday’s Veterans Day game, the cheerleaders had said they planned to kneel on the field during the anthem.

A national debate over the appropriateness of the kneel-down during the national anthem began in September after President Donald Trump said the NFL should fire players who kneel. KSU administrators have received numerous telephone calls and emails from residents voicing their support and disapproval of the cheerleaders’ actions.

Some students have held protests on campus in recent weeks, demonstrating against the change and other academic issues, such as Olens’ recent decision to remove the phrase “social justice” from some faculty job descriptions.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

JUST IN: 2 killed in chain-reaction crash on I-20 in DeKalb County
JUST IN: 2 killed in chain-reaction crash on I-20 in DeKalb County

Two people were killed Wednesday night in a chain-reaction collision on I-20 East in DeKalb County. A crash involving a motorcycle collected two more vehicles when drivers slowed for the accident at Gresham Road just after 11 p.m.  “The first accident occurred when a vehicle struck the rear of a motorcycle that was traveling east on I-20...
Shots fired at Conyers officers during attempted robbery at jewelry store
Shots fired at Conyers officers during attempted robbery at jewelry store

Shots were fired at officers during an attempted robbery at a Conyers jewelry store Wednesday night, police said. An alleged robber and an accomplice reportedly fired off a few rounds about 8 p.m. while running away from Kay Jewelers in a shopping center near the I-20 and Ga. 138 interchange, Conyers police Sgt. Kim. Lucas told AJC.com. The rounds...
Gwinnett Place CID elects one new board member
Gwinnett Place CID elects one new board member

Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District, a self-taxing district that uses additional commercial property taxes to accelerate infrastructure improvements, security enhancements and economic development in the Gwinnett Place area, recently elected one new. Ben Yorker, director of development for Northwood Ravin’s Charlotte office, was voted...
Johns Creek ending contract with environmental group
Johns Creek ending contract with environmental group

Johns Creek is moving to cancel its environmental services contract with Keep North Fulton Beautiful, which has worked with the city since 2009 on such events as household hazardous waste collections, bulky recycling and the Johns Creek Cleanup and Creek Crawl. The City Council approved the termination of the contract effective Nov. 18. Keep North...
SOUTH

Henry County Bed tax raises $27K Henry County has about $27,000 this year from its hotel-motel tax proceeds to spend on promoting tourism, according to a presentation given on behalf of the Convention and Visitors Bureau at the Sept. 4 meeting of the Board of Commissioners. The money comes from the five-percent tax levied on every room sold in the...
More Stories