Kennesaw State president: Cheerleaders will be back on football field during anthem

Five KSU cheerleaders take a knee during the national anthem prior to the matchup between Kennesaw State and North Greenville, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. (Special to AJC/by Cory Hancock)

In a campus letter today, Kennesaw State University President Sam Olens says cheerleaders will return to the football field before the national anthem. After five cheerleaders took a knee in late September, the squad was kept off the field during the anthem, a decision that led to praise and protests.

When the cheerleaders were taken off the field, Olens was criticized for his failure to defend the young women. He distanced himself from the decision to keep them off the field, saying it was made by the athletics department. Student protests resulted, but Olens also won praise from political leaders in the county, two of whom claimed credit for the banishment of the cheerleaders.

The KSU cheerleaders were following the example of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other pro players, taking a knee to combat injustice and police abuse. Their protest did not disrupt campus or classes. They did so after prayer and conversations with family over what they were risking and what was at stake.

“We kneel for equality,” cheerleader Shlondra Young told the AJC. “We kneel to highlight social injustice and to highlight police brutality and kneel in honor for those who unjustly lost their lives and for those who could not kneel for themselves. We kneel in a city where a Confederate culture still exists amongst some and issues like this are placed on the back burner.”

I was among those who thought Olens missed an opportunity to make all students on his campus feel respected and valued when he neither met with the cheerleaders nor defended their right to peacefully protest.

He has done the right thing for his school. Yes, he will anger people. But that is leadership.

Here is the letter sent by Olens:

 

Reader Comments 0

25 comments
GaMan502
GaMan502

I Hope all  Veterans Boycott all games at the School because of them.  If they have problems with Social Injustice and Police then take it up with them not showing Disrespect for the Flag I spent half my life Defending. Their Actions won't make any difference with their problems.  And as far as the Confederate they need to get over all that is History and read the Released FBI reports on Dr Martin Luther King.

jj494
jj494

We have distributed their names threw out the state and business community not to hire these little disrespectful millenials. Good luck finding employment once you leave the safe space of college. 

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

@jj494


HAHAHA. That a boy! Just ostracize them because of your beliefs.  Funny that many that find offense to this, are so hypocritical because of what they believe in, so when someone has a difference of opinion they are quick to tell them that they are wrong. I know that goes right over your head! Tell you what, I will advocate for many of these women because they are leaders and it takes courage to have to hear the trash you are posting.  Funny to know that some of you who pledge allegiance to a piece of cloth are lost in the shuffle. 

Re Al A T
Re Al A T

Cheerleaders actually stand for nothing anyways. They are meaningless "eye candy" put on display by the university to titillate the crowd. 

Babycat
Babycat

By the way, I hear volunteers are needed for the Hosea Feed the Hungry for Thanksgiving.  Girls, have you signed up yet?

Astropig
Astropig

@Babycat


But that would take several hours a week out of their busy lives.This is "two minute" activism! 

Babycat
Babycat

When I was a cheerleader in the 70's, while in uniform and on the field, we all "took a knee" so to speak during the National Anthem.  We knelt on our right knee and crossed our right arm over our heart (much like the pose they are doing).  Even in Brownie and Girl Scouts during the flag raising ceremony there were four of us that would bring in the flag.  While two raised the flag, the other two would kneel.  What these girls don't realize is this is a salute to the flag and all it stands for.  If the flag and the National Anthem is offensive to them, they should actually refuse to even take the field until it has finished playing and then join the squad.

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

@Babycat


Glad the 70's is over. At any time you can take a time machine and go back. What you dont realize is that it is a stand for what they believe in. Your beliefs are totally different. Have you tried to reach out and speak with these young women to understand why they are kneeling?  Thought not, you just choose to criticize and ostracize because of your beliefs...

Babycat
Babycat

@AnsweredTHIS @Babycat Not once did I criticize them, what I pointed out is that they do not understand that kneeling is paying homage.  If they find the flag and anthem offensive then stay off the field until it is over. And, you really do not know much about my beliefs.

.-.Lillian
.-.Lillian

-ï ḟŕệệŀäńċệ öṿệŕ ẗḧệ ïńẗệŕńệẗ äńď ệäŕń äḅöüẗ 90-95$ äń ḧöüŕ. ï ẅäṩ ẅïẗḧöüẗ ä jöḅ ḟöŕ 6 ṃöńẗḧṩ ḅüẗ ŀäṩẗ ṃöńẗḧ ṃÿ ṗäÿċḧệċḳ ẅïẗḧ ḅïġ ḟäẗ ḅöńüṩ ẅäṩ $18000 jüṩẗ ẅöŕḳïńġ öń ṃÿ ċöṃṗüẗệŕ ḟŕöṃ ṃÿ ḧöṃệ ḟöŕ 4-5 ḧöüŕṩ. ḧệŕệ'ṩ ẅḧäẗ ï ḧäṿệ ḅệệń ďöïńġ...

        ░A░M░A░Z░I░N░G░ ░J░O░B░S░

°°°°°°http://ow.ly/pqaC30fgvnI 


DS
DS

 Good for them, and for Olens. He can't please everyone, so he might as well just go ahead and do the right thing.

I'm surprised Olens wrote that he will stand to honor those who served in the armed forces. That's fine, but it isn't what the national anthem is for. A country's national anthem is to honor a its history, culture, traditions, beliefs and principles.

That's an important thing to know, especially when trying to understand why some people want to kneel during our national anthem.

Astropig
Astropig

Okay. Let 'em kneel. 


My experience tells me that this sort of action has a fairly short half-life,after which the initial shock wears off and everyone just shrugs and ignores the gesture and goes on about their business.The public's attention span is pretty limited,so they will eventually be kind of like the homeless-always there,but part of the wallpaper of society that you just stop noticing.Their stated goal is so vague that I guess that they'll spend the rest of their life in protest against everyone,everywhere that they just don't cotton to. (Future employers-take note)







Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

This is NOT leadership - it is pure lack of leadership.  End.Of.Story.

WW5
WW5

Cheerleaders and nothing to an event just get rid of them

Dan Whisenhunt
Dan Whisenhunt

Someone better get the sheriff's wife a box of tissues.

kaelyn
kaelyn

Didn’t Olens say the removal of the cheerleaders from the field had nothing to do with their protest? He should stick to one story.

ukwildcat
ukwildcat

Sorry, freedom of speech protects you from the Government, not from consequences from your employer or school. These cheerleaders, like football players in the NFL, have a job that they are tasked to do on the field. Protest on your own time.

Riceville1
Riceville1

So sad to live in a country that dishonors its veterans, but freedom means being free to be hurtful with your expressions of free speech I suppose.

redweather
redweather

@Riceville1 Many veterans are black, and many of them no doubt agree with the protest. What's really sad is that we still must protest for racial equality in 2017.

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

@Riceville1


Many of those same veterans you speak of have also said they agree with this nonviolent act of protest. When will you people who dont support this realize this has nothing to do with veterans and everything to do with a message that they are trying to get across. Gosh you people are thick, thick, thick!