SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) — An unidentified cheerleader for the San Francisco 49ers was photographed kneeling during the national anthem at Thursday evening’s “Battle of the Bay” between the Oakland Raiders and the Niners at Levi’s Stadium.
“I just thought it was peaceful, respectful, constitutionally-protected free speech,” remarked Lenny Herold, a fan in the stands whose photo of the cheerleader was one of several that went viral on social media.
The cheerleader’s decision comes more than two years after former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem, which ignited a controversy that, often, has overshadowed the game of football.
Last May, the NFL announced a policy to fine players who take a knee then back-pedaled when challenged by the players union.
“I’m just here for the game and I had no intention of doing anything divisive or doing anything, you know, important,” Herold said. “But all I did was take a picture and I just thought it was a cool moment.”
The identity of the cheerleader remained unknown late Thursday but her actions have certainly gained national attention.
The 49ers have not commented on the incident.