Why have NFL cheerleaders not joined take-a-knee protests?by Richard Bailey 06/10/2017 20:03:00 0 comments 1 Views
- NFL players have been taking a knee during the national anthem to protest against racial inequality and police brutality in the US
- The movement began with former San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick in 2016 and has continued gathering support during the 2017 season
- While more and more athletes and politicians have joined the protest, the NFL's cheerleaders have so far not participated
- A former cheerleader said in a new interview published yesterday that cheerleaders have opinions but their job is to 'make everyone happy'
- Formher cheerleader Danetha Doe pointed out that taking a knee in front of mostly white viewers and fellow cheerleaders would have been uncomfortable
By Clemence Michallon For Dailymail.com
Published: 18:05 EDT, 6 October 2017 | Updated: 20:03 EDT, 6 October 2017
More and more athletes and politicians have joined the take-a-knee protests launched by Colin Kaepernick last year, but so far, the NFL's cheerleaders have not participated.
Former cheerleaders explained why their current colleagues might not feel comfortable doing so in a new interview with Elle.com published yesterday, explaining that cheerleaders might not feel comfortable taking a knee if they're the only one to do so—and that it's not a cheerleader's 'job' to create 'controversy'.
The movement began in 2016, when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during the national anthem. It has continued gathering support since the beginning of the 2017 season.
Reasons: Former cheerleaders such as Danetha Doe (pictured in 2008 performing for the Indianapolis Colt) explained why their colleagues have not joined the take-a-knee protests
Context: Doe (pictured) said it would have been an uncomfortable experience taking a knee in front of mostly white cheerleaders, while audience members were also for the most part white
Role: Michele Wright (pictured), who was once a cheerleader for the Jacksonville Jaguars, called cheerleaders 'a little fish in a big pond'
Former NFL cheerleader Danetha Doe, who once performed for the Indianapolis Colts, told Elle.com it would have been an uncomfortable experience taking a knee in front of mostly white fellow cheerleaders, while audience members were also for the most part white.
'It would be hard to be the only one,' she said. 'Plus the skirts are so short.'
Michele Wright, who was a cheerleader for the Jacksonville Jaguars, called cheerleaders 'a little fish in a big pond'.
'Although they are of great worth and value to the football experience and their respective communities, many are undervalued. So to remain neutral, they wouldn't take a knee,' Wright added.
Standing: More and more athletes and politicians have joined the take-a-knee protests, but so far, the NFL's cheerleaders have not participated (file picture)
Beginnings: Then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to protest against police brutality and racial inequality
Still going: The movement has continued gathering support since the beginning of the 2017 season. Pictured, the San Francisco 49ers knelt on Sunday in Phoenix, Arizona
Others who testified anonymously explained cheerleaders don't feel it is part of their role to express political opinions on the field.
'I'm not shocked that they are not protesting,' a former cheerleader said.
'It's not that we women don't have an opinion; we have opinions. Many of us have other jobs while we are cheering, there are doctors and politicians out there on the field. We do this because we love to dance, and our job as cheerleaders isn't to create controversy. It's to make everyone happy.'
The majority of former cheerleaders said that team captains would likely not react positively if one of them were to protest—and NFL cheerleaders, who have long fought a legal battle to be paid decently, are unlikely to want to challenge their leadership.
'There's a bigger conversation to be had here: Why, as women, aren't we a bigger part of these conversations?' Doe added. 'Why isn't our opinion valued as highly as others? We have fans as well. Why isn't the league interested in hearing what we have to say?'