A Pittsburgh school’s homecoming game has shifted to an afternoon kickoff and will allow only parents of players to attend as fans following a divisive national anthem protest by the school’s cheerleading squad.
As reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and other local sources, Cornell High School’s scheduled homecoming game (the school’s first since resurrecting its football program in 2016) has been moved up in schedule amidst major safety concerns about the schools student athletes and otherwise engaged members of the student body. During the team’s Sep. 30 game, Cornell cheerleaders took a knee en masse as a protest about the treatment of African American men and others. The protest, made in the Colin Kaerpernick mode, saw 12 of 15 cheerleaders drop to a knee during the national anthem. It elicited passionate reactions from both sides, but particularly from those who felt the protests flied in the face of area veterans who were on hand to serve as the honor guard for the game.
Critics of the protesters later published a video that trickled on to social media directly calling out the teens and leaving some concerned about their safety at Friday’s game.
That’s what inspired Cornell Superintendent Aaron Thomas to move the kick off time, all in the name of safety of players and fans. In fact, Thomas was even more strict about fans, barring any who are not parents of current players from attending the game.
The adjustments should make for a strange and eerie circumstance for both Cornell and Shenango, the school’s forthcoming foe.