A San Francisco 49ers cheerleader took a knee during the national anthem prior to Thursday’s game against the Oakland Raiders.
The cheerleader who has not been identified has not spoken publicly about her motives.
Cheerleader for Colin Kaepernick’s former team kneels
She took a knee on the night that the 49ers started quarterback Nick Mullens, who was promoted from the practice squad earlier this season after signing as an undrafted rookie in 2017.
Mullens is the third quarterback to start for the team this year after an ACL tear ended Jimmy Garoppolo’s season and a wrist injury kept backup C.J. Beathard out of Thursday’s game.
Colin Kaepernick, who started the practice of protesting social injustice by kneeling during the anthem, last played for the 49ers in 2016. He is still seeking NFL employment despite having proven himself as quarterback capable of starting in the league because of his decision to draw attention to police brutality and racial inequality.
First known NFL cheerleader protest
While players throughout the league joined Kaepernick in his protests, this is the first known protest by an NFL cheerleader.
ELLE spoke with several NFL cheerleaders in 2017 asking why they did not participate in the protests alongside players. Some pointed to lack of support and fear of losing their positions in a climate where Kaepernick couldn’t find a job.