Five cheerleaders at a college in Georgia say they'll kneel in the stadium tunnel when the national anthem is played at Saturday's homecoming game after being moved off-field by their university after an earlier protest, AP reports. The so-called 'Kennesaw Five' will kneel until the US flag "represents what it should," Kennesaw State University cheerleader Shlondra Young told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "It was the scariest thing I've ever done," said another cheerleader, Michaelyn Wright, of their protest a week earlier. The cheerleaders said they closely watched a national debate over NFL players kneeling during the anthem, adding they prayed before kneeling before a college game Sept. 30.
The decision to move the cheerleaders off-field was made by the school's athletic department, which meets after each game "to determine how best to enhance the game day atmosphere," school spokeswoman Tammy DeMel said in a statement Monday. It made no mention of the anthem protest. Last year in Pennsylvania, several cheerleaders at a high school in the community of Coraopolis kneeled during the anthem at a football game attended by several war veterans. The backlash resulted in the school restricting attendance at the school homecoming game to parents of players. And during last year's football season in Nebraska, six Omaha Central High School cheerleaders took a knee before a game to protest.