Cheerleaders perform national anthem in sign language for all-deaf football game

ESPN made history on Thursday night when the network aired its first football game featuring all-deaf players. The California School for the Deaf-Fremont faced Woodland Christian –- and before the game started, cheerleaders lined up to perform the national anthem. In sign language.


Video by Andrew Bucholtz

This powerful gesture comes after months of national anthem protests in sports from the youth level to the professional arena.

Capturing moments like this was important to the producer of the game, Chris Damiani.

"I have been working on and thinking of ideas for this game since the schedule came out in August," Damiani said. "We have added a couple of cameras to our normal complement to capture how CSD (California School for the Deaf) communicates on and off the field. We will have a camera dedicated to the CSD sideline to show the team signing with one another."

CSD was featured in an E:60 called "Silent Night Lights" last year, but it was Thursday night's live broadcast that the head football coach considered "a historic event for the deaf community and the school."

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