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Miss Virginia Backs NFL Kneelers During Miss America Prelim

9/7/2018 6:45 AM PDT

Miss Virginia Backs NFL Kneelers During Miss America Prelim, Wins

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Colin Kaepernick has another major supporter -- Miss Virginia -- who went to bat for the QB during a Miss America prelim competition on Thursday ... a prelim competition she WON! 

22-year-old Emili McPhail was competing against 49 other women at night #2 in the 2019 Miss America prelims -- when she was asked how she'd advise the NFL when it comes to the kneeling issue.

"Kneeling during the national anthem is absolutely a right that you have to stand up for what you believe in, and to make the right decision that’s right for you,” McPhail said.

"It’s very important that we also have to take into consideration that it is not about kneeling: it is absolutely about police brutality."

The judges were so impressed with her answer, she was awarded the $1,000 prelim onstage question scholarship. 

After the competition, McPhail talked about her answer with the Press of Atlantic City.

"I said standing up for what you believe in is the most important thing that you can do, and that’s what I did ... I was very happy to have that moment to be honest, because it’s not always easy."

The prelims continue on Friday.

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