St. John’s cheerleaders protest game after ‘neglect’ by school

St. John’s University is weathering a self-induced social media Red Storm for not recognizing cheerleaders and dancers in a post honoring female student-athletes.

The glaring omission in Wednesday’s Instagram post from the university’s athletic department did not go unnoticed by the cheer squad, which donned T-shirts in protest and skipped one planned performance during a men’s basketball game against Seton Hall, video shows.

“Today we celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day!” the post boasted. “We are so proud of and inspired by our female student-athletes who work so hard to be the leaders of their generation, both on and off the field of competition!”

The 10-slide post acknowledged nine St. John’s Division I women’s athletic programs, including volleyball, soccer and golf, but omitted the Red Storm cheerleading and dance teams — riling current and former student-athletes at the Queens university.

“Taking today to wish this team a National Women in Sports Day,” St. John’s cheerleader Allison McCann posted on Facebook. “Even through constant neglect, this team does not remain silent. I could not be more proud of this group of athletes for standing up for what we believe is right.”

While the team showed up to Wednesday’s game, they did not perform and wore shirts reading “We are women in sports.”

To showcase their disapproval of the exclusion, SJU cheerleaders wore T-shirts with the words “We Are Women in Sports” scribbled on their backs at Wednesday’s game against Seton Hall, according to the university’s student newspaper, The Torch. Seton Hall (14-9) won 84-72.

McCann’s post, which included a 56-second video of her teammates in action, characterized the lapse as “heartbreaking,” particularly on a day when the team should’ve been honored.

“The passion each individual has for this sport should not go unnoticed,” McCann wrote. “When given less, we strive for more. We deserve recognition just the same as every other ATHLETE. GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE.”

At least one alum of the team said she was "disappointed" the school would omit cheerleaders.
At least one alum of the team said she was “disappointed” the school would omit cheerleaders.
St. John’s Cheerleading/ Insta

McCann, 20, shared the same message on Instagram, where emotional viewers said they were inspired by her courage to stand up for fellow student-athletes.

“This brought tears to my eyes,” one reply read.

University officials, meanwhile, downplayed the snafu as an accidental slight.

“The department recognized its female student-athletes and athletic teams with a social media post, along with an all-inclusive, in-game video board message and public address announcement to honor female athletes,” spokesman Brian Browne told The Post in a statement.

The school’s post for National Girls and Women in Sports Day failed to include any photos of the dance or cheerleading teams.

“There was an inadvertent photo omission of the University’s Dance and Cheerleading teams in the social media post,” Browne said. “St. John’s University and the Department of Athletics value the dedicated contributions to the University made by all students and are committed to celebrating their achievements.”

The cheer team sat out a scheduled routine during Wednesday’s game, Browne confirmed to The Post. The squad later countered the mixed-up message with an Instagram post citing its impact on campus.

“Not only today, but every day, it is important that ! ALL ! women athletes are recognized for their hard work, dedication and strength,” the cheerleading squad said. “We are so proud of all of the women student athletes of St. John’s Cheer today and every day!”

St. John's cheerleader Allison McCann commented that the team has persevered despite "constant neglect."
St. John’s cheerleader Allison McCann commented that the team has persevered despite “constant neglect.”
Allison McCann/ Facebook

St. John’s University cheerleading coach Carolyn Renda, who declined an interview request Friday, said the school’s Athletics Department had apologized for the “inadvertent” omission.

“We are grateful to be a part of a Division I athletics program that acknowledges our hard work and wants to be a part of the positive change to the sport of cheerleading,” Renda told The Post in a statement.

Several former St. John’s cheerleaders also chimed in, saying they were miffed by the oversight.

The school has since apologized for not including the teams, calling the omission a mistake.
The school has since apologized for not including the teams, calling the omission a mistake.
St. John’s University / Facebook

“Extremely disappointed as a @stjohnscheer alumni that you don’t recognize these hardworking women,” ex-cheerleader Emily Valentino said on Instagram. “That show up to every single event needed FOR the university! As well as @sju_dance!”

McCann, who did not return a request for comment Friday, also took a shot at the social media team for St. John’s University Athletics department.

“You’re welcome for the most likes you’ll ever get on a post btw,” McCann wrote in reply to the original offending post, which had garnered more than 700 nods of approval as of Friday.

Another St. John’s critic noted the university’s cheer and dance teams finished in second place in game day and hip-hip categories, respectively, at national competitions last month in Orlando.

“Not only do these ATHLETES work tirelessly within their SPORT, but they also work tirelessly to support the other athletes of St. Johns, while missing out on family events to do so,” the charged reply read. “In closing, thank you to the dance and cheer athletes for your all of your hard work and dedication.”

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