Last year, a majority of the Kennesaw State University cheerleaders who decided to follow in the NFL’s footsteps and take a knee in protest of the National Anthem — and now, many of them have discovered they didn’t make the 2018 cheerleading squad.
Women of the “Kennesaw Five” say they are victims of political retaliation.
They captured national attention for taking a knee during the National Anthem of college games. Now, they’re back in the headlines again after only one of them made the squad this year.
This is the first time Tamia Dean hasn’t cheered since she’s been at the school. She doesn’t think it’s a coincidence or a matter of skill. She says it’s more than likely retaliation.
“Made it twice before. Now, I didn’t make it,” said Dean.
Shocked and disappointed, she was left with one question.
Like many athletes in the NFL, they say they did it to protest police brutality, racial inequality and social injustice. KSU then banned the girls from the field until the National Anthem was over. School officials later allowed them back on after getting reprimanded by the University System of Georgia.
This year, four out of the five were cut during tryouts.
We reached out to Kennesaw State University, asking why the girls didn’t make the team. A spokesperson sent a statement saying there was “a substantial increase in applicants for this year’s squad — from 61 applicants in 2017, to 95 in 2018 — creating more competition for the 52 available spots on the roster.”
“It was competitive, definitely, but I don’t think that we were at the bottom of the competition level at all,” says Dean.
When asked if she regretted taking a knee, Dean said, “No. I think when you want to stand up for things you believe, sometimes you lose stuff, and this just happens to be something that I lost.”
Dean is ready to move on and put this behind her. The question now is whether the one member of the “Kennesaw Five” who did make the team will take a knee this year.
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