Cheerleader who was punished for taking a knee during football game wins $145K settlement
Tommia Dean (screengrab)

A former cheerleader for Kennesaw State University who took a knee during the National Anthem during a football game has been paid $145,000 in an out-of-court settlement, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.

Tommia Dean sued KSU’s then-President Sam Olens, alongside Scott Whitlock and Matt Griffin who worked for the KSU athletics department at the time, after her public protest with four other cheerleaders which took place in 2017. She dropped her lawsuit after settling with the Georgia Department of Administrative Services for $145,000.

“A compromise has been reached,” the settlement's 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.”

According to Dean's initial lawsuit, school officials worked to keep her and other cheerleaders off the field during the National Anthem for two games after the initial incident. Also named in her lawsuit were Cobb Sheriff Neil Warren and former state Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, who she says pressured Olens to take action against the cheerleaders -- actions that she says were racially motivated. A federal judge in February found that Ehrhart and Warren did not act with any sort of racial animus.

In 2018, Dean appeared on The View and spoke about her case: