A group of Wisconsin athletes who stood up and defended a cheerleader with Down Syndrome were recognized by the local police department. With all the bad behavior that we hear about from student athletes, it is refreshing to hear about stories such as this one.
Desiree Andrews, 14, is a cheerleader at Lincoln Middle School in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and she also suffers from Down Syndrome. As some bullies learned, Desiree, is fully supported by her school and the basketball team.
Several of the athletes took a stand against bullies who heckled the cheerleader from the stands, and three of them walked up to the people who were harassing her saying, “Don’t mess with her.”
“We were mad; we didn’t like that,” Miles Rodriguez, one of the players who stood up for Desiree, told the Kenosha News. “We asked our sports director to talk to the people and tell them not to make fun of her.”
Rodriguez, Chase Vazquez, and Scooter Terrien walked off the court in the middle of the game to express their displeasure at the words they were hearing. They were not the only ones who were upset. Desiree’s father, Cliff Andrews, told the newspaper on Thursday his daughter was upset to see him angry.
“She saw that I was upset. She threw her hands around me and made me look at her face and said, ‘Papa, it’s OK. I still love them even if they don’t like me.'”
Since the incident, which made national news, the gym has been renamed “D’s House” in honor of the cheerleader with Down Syndrome. Not only that, Desiree was introduced along with the team during home games, and she said, “It’s amazing.”
The athletes were honored Monday night by Kenosha’s Common Council. According to WTMJ-TV, the meeting also featured a special video message to Desiree and the team from the actress who plays a cheerleader with Down syndrome on the TV show Glee, who her dad says inspired her to try out for the cheerleading squad.
The story of the Wisconsin athletes who came to the defense of the cheerleader with Down Syndrome has meant that the Andrew’s phone hasn’t stopped ringing. FOX News, ABC News, Today, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and many more have wanted to book Desiree to tell her side of the story.
[Image via Kenosha Unified School District/NBC 15]