Kennesaw State Cheerleader Sues over Anthem Protests

Anthem Protests

A cheerleader from Kennesaw State University is suing the school and several local officials, claiming they violated her civil rights by trying to prevent her from protesting during the playing of the national anthem.

Tommia Dean, now a sophomore, filed her lawsuit on Wednesday claiming that local officials and school administrators “colluded” against the five women dubbed “the Kennesaw Five” by ruling that cheerleaders could not take the field until after the anthem is played, according to WSB-TV.

Dean named Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren and Republican state Rep. Earl Ehrhart in her suit saying that they interfered in the situation after the five cheerleaders first began their protests at the start of the 2017 football season.

Also named in the lawsuit is former KSU president Sam Olens who made the rule preventing cheer teams from taking the field until after the anthem was over. Olens later resigned after taking criticism from both sides of the kneeling issue. The lawsuit also names KSU athletic department officials Matt Griffin and Scott Whitlock.

The lawsuit claims that Dean faced racial discrimination at the hands of the officials and the school administrators. Dean is black, and those she accuses are white.

As the 2018 school year began, Kennesaw cut four of the five cheerleaders who protested last year.

“Similar to all KSU sports teams, multi-year spots on rosters are not guaranteed, and all student-athletes must earn their position on a team,” a letter from the KSU athletic department explained according to the school’s paper.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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