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Kennesaw State Settles Lawsuit over Protest with Former Cheerleader for $145K

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorDecember 6, 2019

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 30: General view of GA State Stadium before the game between Kennesaw State and Georgia State on August 30, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
Michael Chang/Getty Images

Former Kennesaw State cheerleader Tommia Dean has received $145,000 after settling a lawsuit with the university in response to its actions following a protest at a KSU football game in 2017, per Rosie Manins of the Marietta Daily Journal

According to the Associated Press, Dean and four other KSU cheerleaders took a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality.

Dean said in the suit that Cobb Sheriff Neil Warren and former state Representative Earl Ehrhart then convinced school president Sam Olens to keep the cheerleaders off the field during the national anthem for the next two home games.

That occurred, but the cheerleaders came back when the University System of Georgia ruled the U.S. Constitution protected their right to protest, per the AP.

Per Manins, the Georgia Department of Administrative Services will write a $93,000 check to Dean, with $52,000 going to her lawyers for legal fees.

Manins received a copy of the agreement from the state through the Open Records Act:

"A compromise has been reached. 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."

Per the Associated Press, Dean said in the suit that Warren and Ehrhart were racially motivated in their complaints to Olens.

A federal judge found no evidence and dismissed those claims in February, but Dean is appealing Warren's dismissal as a defendant in the case.