Five cheerleaders take a knee during the national anthem prior to Saturday’s matchup between Kennesaw State and North Greenville on Sept. 30, 2017.

A former Kennesaw State University cheerleader who took a knee during the national anthem at a KSU football game has been paid $145,000 in a subsequent settlement, documents show.

Former KSU cheerleader Tommia Dean filed a lawsuit in 2018 after receiving backlash to her public protest with four other cheerleaders during the national anthem at a KSU football game in September 2017.

Dean listed KSU’s then-President Sam Olens as a defendant in the civil suit, alongside Scott Whitlock and Matt Griffin who worked for the KSU athletics department at the time.

But her lawsuit was negated when Dean settled with the Georgia Department of Administrative Services for $145,000, the agreement shows.

The document, signed by Dean and a representative for the state department on Oct. 25, was provided to the MDJ on Wednesday by the department in response to an Open Records Act request.

“A compromise has been reached,” the 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.”

The settlement sets out that the Georgia Department of Administrative Services agreed to write a check for $93,000 to Dean personally, and another check for almost $52,000 to her attorneys to cover legal costs, by Oct. 25.

Cobb Sheriff Neil Warren and former state Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, were also defendants in Dean’s lawsuit, but were not part of the settlement with the state department.

Dean claimed they persuaded Olens to keep the cheerleaders off the field during the national anthem in two football games following their kneeling stunt.

She claimed Warren and Ehrhart were racially motivated in their complaints to Olens about the cheerleaders’ public protest, and that she had since suffered emotional stress.

In February, a federal judge dismissed Ehrhart and Warren as defendants in the case, finding no evidence they acted with racial animus.

That judge’s order was then appealed by Dean’s lawyers in respect of Warren only, and the appeal regarding the sheriff is the only ongoing legal matter in the case.

“Yes, we are appealing the order dismissing Warren to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit,” Dean’s attorney Bruce Brown told the MDJ recently.

Ehrhart had this to say recently about his dismissal as a defendant in the case: “The courts and Judge Batten have thrown out the meritless, politically motivated lawsuit against me and justice has prevailed. My counsel crushed the political hack attorneys hired by the KSU cheerleader to perpetrate this fraud and character assassination.”

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(12) comments

Mike Nelson

Unbelievable!!! She doesn’t stand for the flag, our country and our veterans. This country is so out of control. I’m sure she has suffered so much injustice in her life.

Phred LeChat

Now we know... it was just about a getting a pay-day.

Ice Dogg

Should have given $145,000 to the 3 awesome young women standing in the photo, not the clueless entitled fools kneeling.

Bob Andrews

What bureaucrat negotiated a stupid settlement like this?

Bill Gaetz

Stupid Rednecks. Not only are y’all on the wrong side of history, again, but now your hard earned tax dollars are going to be going to the people you just can’t understand. I can’t figure out whether to laugh or cry.

Johanna Williams

@Bill Gaetz

Hey Bill, since you cannot figure out whether you should laugh or cry, I see you took the easy way out and just started calling people you don't agree with names. That is the most reliable way to tell when a liberal has lost the argument, A liberal will always resort to name calling, when they have lost the argument. So Bill, do you have anything of substance to offer, other than name calling someone a "Stupid Redneck"?

Howard Peterson

Thank You Ms. Williams!!

Adrienne Baxter

I find it interesting that you didn't react to the conservative above you who called liberals "stupid entitled fools." Here, you're even using "liberal" as a pejorative. You only have a problem with name-calling when the names attack your worldview, or when they target you and not others. Anyway, I wouldn't call your ilk "rednecks;" I think there are more eloquent ways of addressing your type, like letting you know that you're wrong and history won't look upon you and people like you kindly. After all, it never does. But I would at least challenge you to be consistent in your callouts, rather than hypocritical.

Johanna Williams

@Adrienne Baxter

Dear Ms Baxter,

Thank you for clearly illustrating exactly what hypocrisy is! You refer to me, a person you know not a single thing about, as "your ilk," "your type," "people like you," ad nauseam. I see you are quite adept at classifying anyone you disagree with by using stereotypes. Moreover, I used "liberal" as a pejorative? Wow! What stretch! May I suggest you consult a reliable dictionary, for the definition of the word "pejorative"? So Ms Baxter, care to share what the "right" and "wrong" side of history are in -your- world?

Ljubica Fortyeight

Instead of praying, I suppose it would be too much to ask that these college "students" do some actual research into the urban myth of police "brutality." There is a plethora of university research and published studies, along with facts, figures, and statistics by the FBI and DOJ which refute the baseless allegations of police racism and police brutality put out by the moronic Colin Kaepernick et al.

It would not surprise me in the least to discover that these benighted cheerleaders did not take any Statistics or Criminal Justice Studies classes. It's unlikely that they've even heard of statistics.

Adrienne Baxter

I commend this young lady, and the other four kneelers, for defending free speech rather than allowing their public university to strip it away. I also commend her and the other kneelers for their peaceful demonstration in support of a future free of racism and police brutality. These young ladies' protests are extremely patriotic and brave. And it is misinformed and intellectually dishonest at best, and a downright lie and smear at worst, to call their protests un-American or anti-armed forces.

But I think those making that faulty argument already know that, considering that the person who started the protests, Colin Kaepernick, personally asked a veteran how to respectfully protest police brutality on the field; the veteran told him that kneeling during the anthem would be respectful. The response from detractors has been very telling. Educating yourself on these issues is always important, as is eschewing regressive and divisive thought processes. It helps us to move to a better, brighter, less violent, and more promising future for all, and not just a few.

Johanna Williams

@Adrienne Baxter

Dear Ms baxter, Did you notice? Your rant is long on your faulted personal opinions and short on facts? Moreover, you should really give credit where credit is due. Your entire rant is virtually taken word-for-word from the radical far left extremist false narrative of the democrat party.

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