The cheerleader who decided to #TakeAKnee during the American national anthem

A cheerleader has joined NFL players in defying Donald Trump by posting a picture of her kneeling during the American national anthem.

Raianna Brown, a cheerleader with Georgia Tech University’s football team, was the only member of her squad to take a knee during the anthem.

Mr Brown, known as Issa Rai online, posted a picture on Twitter at the weekend of her kneeling in the middle of a line of cheerleaders.

It is believed she made the gesture at a game sometime last year. She first posted the image on Instagram in October 2016.

In her post, she thanked NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was the first athlete to take a knee last year in protest against racial inequality and police brutality.

She tweeted: ‘Proudest & scariest moment as a yellow-jacket happened at the same time. Thank you @Kaepernick7 for inspiring to #TakeAKnee to take a stand’.

Ms Brown was praised for her gesture on Twitter.


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Emily Andras, a Canadian TV producer and writer who created the Wynonna Earp television series, tweeted: ‘100% ready to crowd fund the lost wages of the first cheerleader who #TakesAKnee’.

After seeing Ms Brown’s tweet, she later responded: ‘Issa, if you ever want to tell your story, I’d love to help you.’

On Friday, Mr Trump attacked the handful of NFL players who had previously kneeled during the Star-Spangled Banner, suggesting they should be fired by their team owners. The US president described those who kneel as a ‘son of a b**ch’.

His comments backfired, sparking anger among players, many of whom knelt or linked arms during NFL games on Sunday.

More than 20 players took a knee in London before the Jacksonville Jaguars’ victory over the Baltimore Ravens at Wembley Stadium.

Jaguars owner Shad Khan, who donated $1 million to Mr Trump’s presidential inauguration, was there too. He called the president’s remarks ‘divisive and contentious’.

In the US, the anthem was played at Nissan Stadium in Tennessee with both the Titans and Seattle Seahawks squads remaining in the locker rooms.

A statement from the Seahawks read: ‘As a team, we have decided we will not participate in the national anthem. We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of colour in this country.

‘Out of love for our country and in honour of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms. We remain committed in continuing to work towards equality and justice for all.’

The Pittsburgh Steelers players remained in the tunnel prior to their game against the Chicago Bears, although Alejandro Villanueva, who served three tours in Afghanistan with the US Army, stood alone in front of it.

In Washington, the vast majority of the Oakland Raiders players sat or knelt on the sideline with their arms locked.