Fans who watched the San Francisco 49ers beat the visiting Oakland Raiders 34-3 at Levi’s Stadium last night (November 1) also saw a National Football League (NFL) cheerleader kneel during the national anthem.


The cheerleader’s name and reason for kneeling have not been disclosed, but many assumed it was a continuation of the protest of police violence toward African Americans that former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began in 2016. His action prompted waves of solidarity protests from athletes in other sports and leagues, including cheerleaders at Howard University and Kennesaw State University.

Cheerleaders, like players, risk social and professional backlash for protests. Cheerleaders anonymously told Elle magazine in 2017 that the lack of job security and fair compensation—especially when compared to players, managers and other public representatives of football franchises—makes protesting an even riskier proposition.