When Colin Kaepernick took a knee back at the beginning of the 2016 NFL season, it was not long before he was unemployable by the teams. When he became a free agent, no team owner offered him a position despite his success on the field. And now Colin Kaepernick has launched a lawsuit against the NFL accusing the team owners of just that.
But Kaepernick is not the only one who has filed a lawsuit against an organization after taking a knee before a football game. A cheerleader named Tommia Dean took a knee as part of the protest against police brutality and racial injustice before a Kennesaw State University football game last year. Dean was one of five cheerleaders to join the protest and spark outrage among the community. After the cheerleaders took a knee, the school changed its policy to keep the cheerleaders off the field during the national anthem in an attempt to avoid it happening again.
And the next season Tommia Dean did not make it back onto the cheerleader squad. Now Dean is suing Kennesaw University because she claims her first amendment right to protest was violated.
The game in question took place on September 30, 2017, and was between Kennesaw State and North Greenville. The cheerleaders who knelt in protest of police brutality were Michaelyn Wright, Tommia Dean, Taylor McIver, Kennedy Town, and Shlondra Young, according to the Daily Mail.
Because the cheerleaders took a knee in support of minority communities, Kennesaw State was thrust into the spotlight. And it angered a lot of people. Thusly, the squad was banned from the field during the pregame national anthem ceremony.
When the school rejected Dean this year, she suspected it had to do with her protest.
“Ernhart and Warren used their power and influence to create a threatening atmosphere for any groups daring to exercise the privileges and immunities guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution,” Dean’s attorney wrote in the complaint filed on September 5, 2018.
Dean argues that Kennesaw State participated in a privacy conspiracy actionable under the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871.
Dean said that KSU president Sam Olens told the sheriff he will make sure the protest “does not happen again.”
Some people wondered if it was really about the protest or if Dean simply lacked the talent to make it onto the squad again. Those close to the situation believe it all had to do with the protest.
“She is definitely more than qualified of being a KSU cheerleading again,” Dean’s friend wrote.
Robert Williamson said, “The right to protest is as American as apple pie and protected by the Constitution. Sending good wishes for success to Tommia Dean in her action to sue KSU.”
The results of both Kaepernick and Dean’s legal battles against the establishment will become a groundbreaking decision in American rights. No one knows what will happen. But either way, it will certainly be a decision that goes down in history.
What do you think about the national anthem protests? Should people be allowed to protest?
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