SANTA CLARA (KPIX 5) — The San Francisco 49ers are staying silent on the subject of a Gold Rush cheerleader who took a knee on the turf at Levi’s Stadium as the national anthem played Thursday night.
Images of the incident spread rapidly on social media.
Levi’s Stadium is where Colin Kaepernick first began his silent protest of racial injustice more than two years ago.
Although Thursday night was not the first time Gold Rush cheerleaders have taken a knee during the anthem, the incident is getting attention because it happened during a nationally televised game.
A KPIX 5 camera captured the moment when the 49er’s Gold Rush cheerleader took a knee during the anthem.
On Friday during a press conference, 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan brushed aside a question about the incident.
“Don’t know about a cheerleader who took a knee,” said Shanahan. “On the second thought, um, I don’t have a thought about that.”
Gold Rush cheerleaders are technically not 49ers employees. They work for a company called E2K Events and Entertainment in Mountain View.
No one from the company would comment on the incident or eve return KPIX 5 phone calls.
It was Lenny Herold, a Raiders fan visiting from New York City sitting in the front row, who tweeted the picture of the unidentified cheerleader.
“I can’t even use my phone at this point,” said Herold. “I’m getting so many retweets and so many replies. It’s interesting, because some people think she’s really awesome, some people are like, ‘You should fire her.'”
Colin Kaepernick first sat down during the national anthem at the start of the 2016 season. He then switched to taking a knee to protest police brutality against African Americans.
The protest was taken up by other NFL players and cheerleaders. It has sparked both national support and outrage.
Some 49ers fans didn’t want to talk about what the cheerleader did.”I didn’t really think much of it. I was just enjoying the game,” said Maria Ortiz, a 49ers fan from Connecticut.
Others supported her silent statement.
“I don’t really think it’s a bad thing what she did. She took her platform and made good use of it,” said Avery Keyes, a 49ers fan visiting from. “So hopefully she gets to keep her job and won’t get in too much trouble.”
Last Christmas Eve, two Gold Rush members were photographed taking a knee during the national anthem.
Although this was a nationally televised game, viewers around the country did not see it happening because television networks usually don’t usually include the national anthem in their broadcast.