Miss America Contestant Sides With NFL Players' Right To Kneel During Anthem

Carla Harmon
September 10, 2018

Collins was asked an onstage question Friday night about what she feels is the most serious issue facing the nation.

An opera singer, Franklin is a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina and earned her master's degree in music composition from UNC School of the Arts.

The next Miss America will be crowned Sunday in Atlantic City.

The first runner-up was Miss Connecticut Bridget Mary Oei, winning $25,000 in scholarships after bringing the audience to its feet with a rousing Irish step-dance number for the evening's talent portion.

The judges narrowed the field of 51 candidates during the pageant Sunday night from Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall.

This year marks the first time the broadcast did not include the swimsuit portion.

The NFL protests have enraged President Donald Trump, who once owned the Miss Universe pageant, a separate organization. Later in the night, during her onstage interview, Collins said President Trump "has created a lot of division in this country". "We are a multi-faceted people".

And behind the scenes, a revolt was under way among most of the Miss America state organizations who demand that national chairwoman Gretchen Carlson and CEO Regina Hopper resign.

She says she and the other 50 contestants 'are more than just that'.

Another Miss America contestant captured headlines for her response when she was asked what advice she would give NFL players on whether to kneel or stand for the national anthem.

Upon taking over at the helm of the Miss America Organization last winter following an email scandal in which former top leaders denigrated the appearance, intellect and sex lives of former Miss Americas, Carlson and Hopper set out to transform the organization, dubbing it "Miss America 2.0".

According to CNN, in a letter, Mund wrote, "Our chair and CEO have systematically silenced me, reduced me, marginalized me, and essentially erased me in my role as Miss America in subtle and not-so-subtle ways on a daily basis".

Mund made a special appearance during this year's pageant and shared a special message, though she did not acknowledge her previous allegations of silencing and bullying. She was not allowed to speak live; instead a 30-second taped segment of her speaking was broadcast.

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