Cheerleader for NFL's San Francisco 49ers kneels during national anthem

It is believed to be the first public protest by an NFL cheerleader.

A cheerleader for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers was seen kneeling during the national anthem at the Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

The incident happened on Thursday ahead of the team's match against California rivals the Oakland Raiders. It is believed to be the first public protest by an NFL cheerleader, according to US local media outlets.

The cheerleader is yet to be named and the team have not commented on the subject.

The movement of kneeling during the national anthem was started by the former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016.

He did so to protest against police violence and racial inequality, following a series of incidents in which unarmed black men were shot by police officers.

Kaepernick’s protest was soon emulated by other NFL players and the movement has been hugely divisive, drawing support from some and criticism from others, among them President Trump.

Kaepernick became a free agent in 2017 but has not been signed by any franchise leading him to file a lawsuit against the NFL for keeping him out of the league.