Another day, another complaint from another set of NFL cheerleaders over working conditions. This time three former cheerleaders filed a class-action lawsuit against the Houston Texans franchise and its director of cheerleading. They allege that team officials forced them to work extra hours without compensation, exposed them to abusive, shaming behavior by the director and failed to protect them from physical abuse from fans.
“Twitter direct messages, which two cheerleaders and their lawyer provided, show examples of cheerleaders being pressured to lose weight themselves or to urge teammates to lose weight. One unnamed plaintiff spoke to on the condition of anonymity. , who goes by her initials in the lawsuit, requested her last name not be used out of fear of retaliation against family members in the industry.
“Paige G. said all Texans cheerleaders had to work hours for which they were not paid. She said she experienced no personal rebuke for her physical appearance and was never physically hurt. But she said she attached herself to the lawsuit and spoke out after growing disillusioned with behavior by Alto Gary, the director of cheerleader programs and cheerleader coach, that she either witnessed or teammates reported to her.
“’I feel like it’s part of my duty as a human being to protect my friends,’ Paige G. said. ’I want to stand up people too afraid to stand up for themselves.’”
Former New Orleans Saints cheerleader Bailey Davis alleged in an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint that the Saints had discriminated against her. Former Miami Dolphins cheerleader Kristan Ann Ware filed a complaint in April alleging Dolphins officials turned against her after she revealed she was a virgin.
If that wasn’t enough, anonymous former Washington Redskins cheerleaders alleged, first to The New York Times, that they had been forced to pose topless in front of sponsors at a 2013 Costa Rican swimsuit calendar shoot and then serve essentially as dates for suite holders at night on the trip.
For 30 years I’ve heard gumba fans complain about the loss of the Honey Bears in 1986. But I am personally so glad they had the wisdom to not reverse that decision.
These cheerleaders add nothing to the game but a (very) little bit of sexist titilation. You can’t even argue that they compete to see which team can perform the best, as they do in college.
Add that to the fact that they get paid practically nothing and it’s a bad situation waiting to happen, as these complaints show. It’s time for cheerleading to disappear from the NFL. Kudos to the Bears for being ahead of the curve. Way ahead.