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Middle school basketball players walked off court to defend bullied cheerleader

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Posted at 2:49 PM, Mar 12, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-04 15:31:09-04

An eighth-grade cheerleader from Wisconsin has become a national treasure after a group of basketball players stood up for her when she was being bullied during a game.

During a Lincoln Middle School boy’s basketball game last year, a group of people in the crowd began making fun of Desiree “Dee” Andrews, a cheerleader with Down syndrome. Three Lincoln players heard the jeers and decided to do something about it.

“One of the kids stepped up and said, ‘Don’t mess with her.’ Then all of the guys got together to show her support,” Brandon Morris, the team’s coach, told the Kenosha News this week.

“The kids in the audience were picking on Dee, so we all stepped forward,” Chase Vazquez, one of the players, told local television station WTMJ-TV.

According to reports, the players interrupted the game by walking off the court and telling the bullies to stop.

“It’s not fair when other people get treated wrong because we’re all the same. We’re all created the same,” player Miles Rodriguez told WTMJ. “God made us the same way.”

Since the story first surfaced on Monday, it has exploded across the Internet. Outlets like ESPN, USA Today and Huffington Post have featured it, making Andrews a national hero almost overnight.

In her hometown of Kenosha, she and the young basketball players have been local celebrities for much longer. Since the incident happened, Lincoln’s gymnasium has affectionately been known as “Dee’s House.”

WTMJ recently did a follow-up report with Andrews and the boys, finding that they have become friends away from the basketball court.

Clint Davis is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis.