SANTA CLARA, Calif. — A San Francisco 49ers cheerleader was photographed kneeling during the national evening before Thursday’s game against the Oakland Raiders at Levi’s Stadium.
The unidentified cheerleader was seen kneeling in the end zone while others stood while the anthem was sung and a huge flag was in the middle of the field.
It’s not known why the woman was kneeling.
“I just thought it was peaceful, respectful, constitutionally protected free speech,” Lenny Herrold, a fan whose photo of the cheerleader was one of several that went viral on social media, told KPIX.
Two years ago, then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaeperknick began taking a knee during the national anthem to cite racial and social injustice.
The move triggered controversy and led to several other players doing the same thing.
It also brought condemnation from President Donald Trump, who called for the owners to fire any players who kneel during the anthem, saying it was disrespectful.
In May, the NFL said players had to stand during the anthem or stay in the locker room while it was played. Teams would be fined if players protested.
But the league later went back on the policy after it was challenged by the players union.