Howard U. cheerleaders kneel during national anthem

WASHINGTON — Cheerleaders at Howard University in D.C. are the latest athletes to join a countrywide protest during a sporting event’s national anthem.

The squad took a knee at RFK Stadium on Saturday as Howard took on Hampton University for AT&T Nation’s Football Classic. Their picture went viral on Twitter.

Howard football players raised their fists, but did not kneel during the anthem, CNN reported.

The cheerleaders at the historically black university join a national protest sparked by San Francisco 49ers player Colin Kaepernick, which has trickled from the professional level to the high school level. Most of a Maryland high school football team knelt during the anthem at a game in Montgomery County.

Kaepernick wanted to shed light on racial injustice in the country, previously saying to The Associated Press, “The message is that we have a lot of issues in this country that we need to deal with. We have a lot of people that are oppressed. We have a lot of people that aren’t treated equally, that aren’t given equal opportunities. Police brutality is a huge thing that needs to be addressed. There are a lot of issues that need to be talked about.”

Soccer player Megan Rapinoe has also joined in solidarity with Kaepernick and has even knelt during the anthem at a game for the U.S. national team in Thailand.

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