Georgia College Pays Cheerleader $145K to Settle Anthem Lawsuit

Tommia Dean a former cheerleader at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia just earned a lot of money from the school. According to ESPN, Kennesaw State awarded Dean $145,000 in a legal settlement after being removed from the team for kneeling during the national anthem at a football game. Dean will get $93,000 and the rest will go to her attorneys. The Marietta Daily Journal was the first to report the news after obtaining the settlement documents through an Open Act Request.

“A compromise has been reached,” the agreement states. “The intent of this agreement is to buy peace of mind from future controversy and forestall further attorney’s fees, costs, or other expenses of litigation, and further that this agreement represents the compromise, economic resolution of disputed claims and, as such, shall not be deemed in any manner an admission, finding, conclusion, evidence or indication for any purposes whatsoever, that the KSU defendants acted contrary to the law or otherwise violated the rights of Dean.”

Dean and four other cheerleaders took a knee before a KSU game in 2017 to protest police brutality in the country, similar to former San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick in 2016. The school responded by ordering the cheerleaders to stay off the field during the national anthem, but they were allowed back on the field when the University System of Georgia determined their rights were protected by the U.S. Constitution.

“The bottom line for me in all of this is if you’re on an athletic team, I don’t care what political statement you’re making, even if it’s repugnant and hateful like the ones those cheerleaders made,” State Rep. Earl Ehrhart said at the time. “If you want to make a political statement, do it in the middle of the public quad and that’s your right in this country.”

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He continued: "This is a football field. Play football. You’ve got a publicly (funded) platform to protest by yourself. If you’re going to turn this into a free speech venue, then you have to let everybody in.”

Dean filed the lawsuit in 2018 and Ehradt was one of the defendants in the case as he complained to then-school president Sam Olens for letting the cheerleaders kneel during the anthem. He was dismissed from the case in February.