More than two years later former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's simple protest is still reverberating throughout the NFL.
And even though Kaepernick has been out of the league for more than a year others are still continuing to follow in his footsteps.
On Thursday several fans and photographers snapped photos of a 49ers cheerleader kneeling for the National Anthem during a game against the Oakland Raiders.
49ers Cheerleader Takes A Knee During National Anthem — The San Francisco game against the Raiders marks the first… https://t.co/xNrcLuaQPV— Paul Leary (@Paul Leary)1541137560.0
During the 2016 NFL preseason Kaepernick began his protest against racial injustice and police brutality against African-Americans by sitting then kneeling during games. Kaepernick was mostly unnoticed and alone in his early protests until teammate Eric Reid joined him in taking a knee.
In the two years since, other NFL players, coaches, owners and athletes around the world have participated in the protests.
But this is thought to be be the first time a cheerleader joined Kaepernick's protest movement since it began.
The images went viral, but so far no one has been able to identify the woman and the NFL has not commented on the matter.
Several images of the brunette cheerleader were caught by fans and photographers around Levi's Stadium.
One of the Niners cheerleaders is taking a knee. https://t.co/DW5SJqh9zj— 2004 never happened (@2004 never happened)1541117887.0
JUST IN: A @49ers #cheerleader takes a knee during the #NationaAnthem at @LevisStadium in @49ers game vs. @Raiders… https://t.co/BEXpaPUzjy— Damian Trujillo (@Damian Trujillo)1541118292.0
Close up: @49ers cheerleader takes a knee during #NationalAnthem https://t.co/f4PC0p9IPf— Damian Trujillo (@Damian Trujillo)1541118820.0
The images of the cheerleader provoked the familiar mixed reactions towards the protest on Twitter.
As with Kaepernick many were upset by the protest which they see as pointless and disrespectful.
@dcdawn @GatorLenny What exactly did her taking a knee accomplish? What did any of them taking a knee accomplish be… https://t.co/UAWiZFXa8O— Nome (@Nome)1541141059.0
@GatorLenny So near-minimum-wage dancer makes a career-ending protest —- so what— Stephen Jones (@Stephen Jones)1541151899.0
@newsdamian @49ers @LevisStadium @Raiders Look at the empty seats. They don't care about the fans. Making a stateme… https://t.co/7hFAvLpqNb— Ronald Lee Burcham (@Ronald Lee Burcham)1541178739.0
@GatorLenny @MariaBartiromo KEEP TAKING A KNEE AND THERE WILL BE MORE EMPTY SEATS— William Nyce (@William Nyce)1541158848.0
Though many were applauding the cheerleader for taking a knee.
@GatorLenny Proud of her for taking a stand.....I mean a kneel https://t.co/zycMiah3tM— Rhyder (@Rhyder)1541168022.0
@GatorLenny Good for her if she felt the need. She'll probably get fired, not that the NFL compensates cheerleaders… https://t.co/VLtFqStiub— Jenny 🎃 #BeatTampaBay (@Jenny 🎃 #BeatTampaBay)1541154257.0
@GatorLenny It’s about time that everyone realizes that racial injustice is real and alive .Black lives matter ,peo… https://t.co/wjJrZsqR6R— Sarah Shah (@Sarah Shah)1541161715.0
@GatorLenny Good for her! It’s appalling to me that more people don’t. Everyone should take a knee against social i… https://t.co/yvbYLYB3io— Monica 🇺🇸 (@Monica 🇺🇸)1541172594.0
@GatorLenny She is a brave gal and a true American. She understands what the American journey towards freedom and t… https://t.co/v94xv6eutC— Dr J. Kally-Williams (@Dr J. Kally-Williams)1541158450.0
The protests have received considerable backlash since they began in 2016, especially from President Donald Trump who called players taking a knee to protest the deaths of unarmed Black people in interactions with law enforcement "disrespecting the flag" and "sons of bitches."
In reaction to the controversy and dwindling television ratings, the NFL attempted to curtail the protests by requiring players on the field to stand during the anthem while allowing those who wished to protest to remain in the locker room. Players are circumventing the ban though by protesting in other ways such as raising a fist.
In March 2017 Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers, choosing to become a free agent before they released him.
Kaepernick has since been without a team and is now suing the NFL, citing that team owners colluded to keep him off the field because of his protests.