Despite a flurry of epic drunken brawls resulting in at least 32 arrests, the big news out of Thursday night’s 34-3 49ers win over the Raiders is the return of kneeling protests to the San Francisco 49ers football organization. This time it wasn’t a player, but instead one of the 49ers cheerleaders team known as the Gold Rush whom fans on social media noticed taking a knee during the National Anthem.
One of the Niners cheerleaders is taking a knee. pic.twitter.com/DW5SJqh9zj
— 2004 never happened (@GatorLenny) November 2, 2018
One of the first to notice this was Twitter user @GatorLenny, known in real life Lenny Herrold, whom CBS News tracked down and interviewed at halftime as seen in this video. As we also see in the video, the move is clearly premeditated, as the cheerleader has prepared some snappy choreography to go into the kneeling position as her colleagues stand.
The identity of the cheerleader remains unknown, and the 49ers have declined to comment. The team’s Gold Rush cheerleaders are not team employees but instead work for a Mountain View event company called E2K. One could try to play amateur sleuth with the 2018 Gold Rush cheerleader roster, though that is not an accurate reflection of which specific cheerleaders were assigned to last night’s game.
This is not the first time 49ers cheerleaders have knelt in protest during the anthem, as the Bay Area News Group has photos of two Gold Rush team members kneeling during last December’s 49ers tilt with the Jacksonville Jaguars. A former 49ers cheerleaders tells NBC News that some members of the squad have been kneeling for more than a year, but no one has really noticed until Thursday night’s game.
That game will be the final NFL contest known as “the Battle of the Bay,” as this is the last year of the Raiders’ lease at the Oakland Coliseum before they move to Las Vegas in 2020. While the Raiders have no idea where they will be playing in 2019, the 49ers will not be on their schedule next year.