Georgia pays cheerleader who kneeled $145K in settlement


A Kennesaw State University cheerleader who kneeled to protest social injustices was paid $145,000 in a settlement with the state of Georgia.

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Former cheerleader Tommia Dean filed the lawsuit in 2018 after she and four other cheerleaders took a knee in protest during the national anthem before a football game in September 2017.

Dean and the other cheerleaders were told to stay out of view before subsequent games. They were allowed back on the field after a review by the university system determined their protests were protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Dean claimed in the lawsuit that university President Sam Olens was pressured by county Sheriff Neil Warren to punish her and the other cheerleaders.

The out-of-court settlement ends the litigation against Olens. A federal judge recently dropped a lawsuit against Warren, however, Dean's attorney plans to appeal.

Dean will be paid $93,000; the rest of the money will go to attorney fees, the Marietta Daily Journal reported. The Georgia Department of Administrative Services is paying the settlement, according to the newspaper's report on the agreement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.