Metro-East News

SIUC cheerleaders who knelt at football game receive NAACP awards

SIU cheerleaders Alaysia Brandy (right) and Czarina Tinker kneel during the national anthem prior to the Salukis’ game against Illinois State at Saluki Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 30.
SIU cheerleaders Alaysia Brandy (right) and Czarina Tinker kneel during the national anthem prior to the Salukis’ game against Illinois State at Saluki Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 30. The Southern Illinoisan

Three cheerleaders who took a knee during an Southern Illinois University Carbondale football game were honored by the NAACP on Monday.

Carbondale Branch NAACP President Linda Flowers gave the three women awards during the annual Martin Luther King Day Breakfast, The Southern Illinoisan reported.

Sophomores Alaysia Brandy, Ariahn Hunt and Czarina Tinker received death threats on social media after they participated in the silent protest during the national anthem at the Sept. 30 game. SIUC officials also kept the Spirit Squad off the field during the anthem after that September game.

“It’s not a protest against the flag. It’s not a protest against Donald Trump,” Hunt told the Daily Egyptian after the game. “It was a protest for our civil rights that we are still fighting for, that we have been fighting for, for hundreds of years and we’re not getting any justice.”

In August 2017, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt in protest of racial injustice during the playing of the national anthem before a preseason game. His silent protest was noticed and emulated by athletes across the country, according to SB Nation.

Their actions were then followed by others, including a team of youth football players in Cahokia that knelt in protest of the verdict in a police-involved fatal shooting.

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