A former Kennesaw State Universitycheerleader who is suing the university for allegedly violating her rights after she and other cheerleaders knelt during the national anthem last season appeared on “The View” this week to make her case.
Wednesday, Tommia Dean explained to the co-hosts why she and her teammates felt compelled to kneel.
“After seeing the many killings and the many attacks against minorities by police officers, I thought it was crazy to have that many, and I didn’t think that it was right for minorities to have to walk around and be terrified every day,” she said. “And to see a police officer and not know how should I act, what I should do, because it’s a burden to have to walk around and be scared all the time. So I just didn’t think it was right at all.”
Inspired by Colin Kaepernick, Dean was one of the four protesting cheerleaders who wasn’t invited to return to the squad after kneeling during the anthem in protest of police brutality and racial discrimination.
Her lawsuit claims the decision to ban the cheerleaders off the field means their civil rights were violated by the university and two elected officials, Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren and former longtime state Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs. The suit also alleges the two elected officials, who are white, tried to stop the protests due to racial bias.
“Eventually, if you respect each other, you will understand each other.”Former Kennesaw State University cheerleader Tommia Dean claims she was cut from the squad for kneeling during the National Anthem. She tells us why she knelt, the backlash she faced, and how she thinks we can unite. abcn.ws/2CcjBVI
Posted by The View on Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Corroborating her claims, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution uncovered text messages from Warren and Ehrhart pressuring KSU’s then-president Sam Olens to keep the girls off the field. These messages directly contradict the official story told by Olens in which he claimed the decision was made by the athletic department and had nothing to do with the protests.
Due to increasing scrutiny, the university eventually overturned their decision and allowed the cheerleaders back on the field during the anthem later in the season.
“I never want to come across as disrespectful to the military, that is not what this protest is about. It is simply about standing up for police brutality against minorities. That is simply it,” Dean told the cohosts.
I graduated from @kennesawstate (21 years ago — omg). I’m just hearing about this issue with the cheerleaders that took a knee. What were the university officials thinking? #TheView pic.twitter.com/rHUyV3ITMt
— Baby Bye (@1BabyBye) September 19, 2018
— Lucas Witherspoon (@LucasLascivious) September 19, 2018
She should have been cut . Do a protest in a way that it does not disrespect those that lost their life or came home disabled or the family’s that have lost love ones defending our great nation in war dating back over 200 years . ALL LIVES MATTER
— gm (@GMassey3) September 19, 2018
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