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Friday, December 13, 2019

Kennesaw State pays cheerleader $ 145,000 for having knelt

I missed this controversy from 2017: Five cheerleaders at Kennesaw State knelt before a football game in September 2017, causing the school to alter the pre-game routine and keep the cheerleaders in the tunnel during the anthem. It eventually was revealed that this change came from the political-hack then-President, under pressure from Republican state officials. The school reversed course one month later and the President resigned one month after that. One of the cheerleaders sued; on Thursday, the school settled for $ 145,000.

The resolution is an interesting one, because college athletes stand in a weird position. FIRE's story insists that "[s]tudent-athletes are students first, athletes second, with expressive rights fully protected by the First Amendment." But there are ways in which student-athletes look like employees who represent the university at public events, giving the school a bit more control over their speech. This settlement suggests that, at least in this case, those involved took the former view.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on December 13, 2019 at 09:31 AM | Permalink

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