Protests against the national anthem during football games have been occurring across the nation on all levels of the sport following Colin Kaepernick’s demonstration last month. It’s been under an especially bright spotlight given that football is unofficially considered to be “America’s favorite sport.” But that’s not keeping the movement from spreading.

Two cheerleaders at the University of Pennsylvania approached their coach with the proposition of joining the protest during the school’s opening game against Lehigh this past weekend. After gaining permission, College junior Alexus Bazen and Wharton junior Deena Char made their decision.

During the playing of the national anthem, Bazen knelt while Char stood with a fist raised in the air.

“I believe that the climate of the world right now is very hostile,” Bazen said to the Daily Pennsylvnaian. “All over the news there has been brutality and violence against people of color and I truly believe in … fighting for equality and standing up for what I believe in.”

The two haven’t decided whether they will continue their protest at future games, but they do feel that they got their message across. And, just to be even more clear, Bazen took the time to explain that this isn’t an attack against the military.

“My parents are vets, my family is military,” Bazen said. “They’ve fought for the right for me to express myself in the way I feel necessary and I have that right and support of family, friends and Penn Athletics.”

Photo Credit: Thomas Munson

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