NFL cheerleaders reveal what it’s like to own their job

NFL cheerleaders reveal what it's like to own their job

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Most NFL teams have cheerleaders.

Most NFL teams have cheerleaders.

You’ve seen NFL cheerleaders on the sidelines, or maybe during halftime of NFL games. This may interest you : Music in the Park ends on Tuesday | News, sports, business. But have you ever wondered what their job is really like?

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You see them on the sidelines during games and sometimes during halftime.

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Looks like they’re having fun, right?

But to get a better idea of ​​what the job is really like, Business Insider spoke to four former NFL cheerleaders, who spoke clearly about the questions surrounding compensation, social media, and rules about joining players that cause controversy throughout the game. See the article : Karley Swindel shares her excitement after becoming a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader.

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But recent reports of harassment, lack of compensation, and gender discrimination has shined a light on the treatment of cheerleaders in the NFL…

The women we spoke to seemed to have had very happy experiences during their time as diggers.

You see them on the sidelines during games and sometimes at halftime.

…leading us to wonder what being an NFL cheerleader is really like.

Looks like they’re having fun, right?

It all started back in 1954 when the Baltimore Colts became the first team to have cheerleaders.

But recent reports of harassment, underpayment, and gender discrimination have shed light on the treatment of cheerleaders in the NFL…

Since then, getting a highly-coveted spot on the squad has become super competitive.

Sources: The New York Times, USA Today, and The Guardian

Every year, thousands of women audition for a spot on an NFL cheerleading squad.

Some make it…

…and many don’t.

… making us wonder what being an NFL cheerleader is really like.

A spot on the squad is a paid position and is officially considered to be part-time.

It all started back in 1954 when the Baltimore Colts became the first team to have cheerleaders.

And each NFL team gets to decide how much its cheerleaders are paid and what kind of guidelines and rules they must follow.

Since then, getting the most desired spot on the team has become very competitive.

Not only do the cheerleaders have to be on-hand for each game…

Every year, thousands of women audition for a spot on an NFL cheerleading squad.

…they also have to show up for mandatory appearances and practices.

A position on a team is a paid position and is legally considered part-time.

But as it turns out, they’re not always getting properly compensated for their time and effort.

And each NFL team gets to decide how much its cheerleaders are paid and what guidelines and rules they must follow.

In 2014, the Oakland Raiders paid a $1.25 million dollar settlement to former cheerleaders after a class action lawsuit alleging wage theft.

Not only do cheerleaders have to be there at every game…

Cheerleaders with the Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the New York Jets have also brought wage lawsuits against their teams.

… they must also show the mandatory appearance and behavior.

Some Cheerleaders in the NFL reportedly make between $75 and $150 a game and $50 an hour for special appearances, but the pay is not standardized across the industry.

But as it turns out, they are not always getting paid for their time and effort.

Sharon Vinick, an attorney who worked on the 2014 class action lawsuit against the Raiders, said women felt intimidated to speak up for themselves.

In 2014, the Oakland Raiders paid a $1.25 million settlement to former cheerleaders after a class-action lawsuit alleging payoffs.

“The women are told that they’re really, really fortunate to be dancing, and if they don’t want to dance, they don’t have to,” Vinick told Business Insider.

Cheerleaders with the Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and New York Jets have also brought salary lawsuits against their teams.

“But compare that to the guys who are the quarterbacks. I mean, they’re very lucky to be quarterbacks, but they’re still paid millions of dollars,” she said.

Some cheerleaders in the NFL reportedly make between $75 and $150 per game and $50 an hour for special appearances, but pay is not standardized across the industry.

Twin sisters Dresdynn and Schuyler Warnell, who both cheered for the Houston Texans from 2010 to 2014, said they were paid about $200 a game, plus compensation for travel expenses, practices, and appearances.

Sharon Vinick, an attorney who worked on the 2014 class action lawsuit against the Raiders, said the women felt afraid to speak up for themselves.

They said overall they had a positive experience while on the Texans squad.

“Women are told that they are lucky to dance, and if they don’t want to dance, they shouldn’t,” Vinick told Business Insider.

But their pay is more than the $1,250 Oakland Raider cheerleaders, known as Raiderettes, made a season.

“But compare that to guys who are quarterbacks. I mean, they’re lucky to be quarterbacks, but they’re still getting paid millions of dollars,” he said.

For comparison, Vinick said reports suggest that mascots make an estimated $40,000 to $60,000 per season, plus benefits.

Twins Dresdynn and Schuyler Warnell, who both cheered for the Houston Texans from 2010 to 2014, said they were paid up to $200 per game, plus travel, performance, and appearance fees.

And the least-played NFL team member, or a “benchwarmer” who doesn’t play in games, gets paid $100,000.

He said overall he had a good experience while on the Texans team.

“$1,250 is less money than someone who’s selling hot dogs in the stands gets paid,” Vinick said.

But their salary is more than $1,250 Oakland Raider cheerleaders, known as Raiderettes, made the season.

It’s definitely not a salary you can live off of, said Jennifer Omohundro who cheered for the Tennessee Titans before joining the Atlanta Falcons in the early 2000s.

For comparison, Vinick said reports show mascots make an estimated $40,000 to $60,000 per season, plus benefits.

She said what she made was “definitely minimal,” but despite the low pay, cheering was “a wonderful experience” for her.

And a non-playing member of an NFL team, or a “benchwarmer” who doesn’t play in games, is paid $100,000.

The same goes for Rachel Swartz, who cheered for the Philadelphia Eagles for the 2015 and 2016 seasons and found the experience to be “empowering.”

“$1,250 is less money than someone selling hot dogs in paid stands,” Vinick said.

“It is really unfortunate to hear a lot of the other stories about women who have not had the same positive experience I had,” Swartz said.

It’s not a salary you can live with, said Jennifer Omohundro who cheered for the Tennessee Titans before joining the Atlanta Falcons in the early 2000s.

NFL cheerleading squads also have a number of rules to follow.

He said that what he did “was very little,” but even with the low salary, cheering was “an amazing experience” for him.

So strict, in fact, that a former New Orleans Saints cheerleader was fired over an Instagram photo of her wearing a one-piece outfit.

The same goes for Rachel Swartz, who cheered for the Philadelphia Eagles for the 2015 and 2016 seasons and found the experience “powerful.”

Swartz said she and her fellow Eagles cheerleaders did not have Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook accounts. “We weren’t allowed to have any of those, and that was mainly for our protection,” she said.

“It’s unfortunate to hear so many other women’s stories that haven’t had the positive experience I’ve had,” Swartz said.

“Even though they run past us on the field, sometimes that would be the only time we were really around them,” Omohundro said. “I mean, they’re professionals, they’re doing their thing as athletes, and we were doing ours.”

NFL cheerleading squads also have many rules to follow.

But off the field, the cheerleaders are required to maintain their distance from players.

So serious, that the former New Orleans Saints player was fired on Instagram for a photo of himself wearing a one-piece outfit.

“They would even go as far as saying if, say, you’re at a restaurant and a couple of the players come in, we would have to leave because they don’t even want us in the same room,” Dresdynn Warnell said.

Swartz said she and her fellow Eagles cheerleaders did not have Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook accounts. “We weren’t allowed to have any, and this was mainly for our own protection,” he said.

“We will get fired and they won’t,” said Schuyler Warnell.

“Even though they passed us on the field, sometimes that was the only time we were close to them,” said Omohundro. “I mean, they’re professional, they’re doing their thing as players, and we were doing our thing.”

Some NFL cheerleaders said they were held to strict weight standards as well. Some said they were made to jump to see if their flesh jiggled or suspended if they were ever more than three pounds outside of their ideal weight.

But off the field, cheerleaders must keep their distance from the players.

“They even go so far as to say that if, say, you’re in a restaurant and several players come in, we have to leave because they don’t even want us in the same room,” Dresdynn Warnell said. .

One former Houston Texans cheerleader sued the team after she said her coach called her “skinny fat” and duct taped parts of her skin during games to make her body appear firmer.

“We’re going to get fired and they don’t want it,” said Schuyler Warnell.

Some NFL cheerleaders said they were held to a tight weight as well. Some said that they were made to jump to see if their flesh was shriveled or hanging if they ever exceeded 3 kilos apart from their weight.

In addition to making appearances, cheerleaders are sometimes expected to interact with fans at games…

Source: The Guardian and Business Insider

…which can sometimes include unsavory encounters.

A former Houston Texans cheerleader is suing the team after she says her coach called her “skinny fat” and cut off parts of her skin during games to make her body look stronger.

Overall, the cheerleaders Business Insider spoke to said their teams did a good job of making sure they felt safe.

Rosa is involved in two lawsuits that also involve allegations that Houston Texans cheerleaders were not paid minimum wage or overtime. Gary then resigned.

And, overall, the women we talked to seemed to have experiences that were overwhelmingly positive. “I really felt empowered by the entire experience,” Swartz said.

In addition to making appearances, cheerleaders are sometimes expected to meet fans at games…

But every team is different, and only time will tell if the ones under scrutiny will actually change for the better.

…which can sometimes involve awkward encounters.

Overall, the cheerleaders Business Insider spoke to said their teams did a good job of making them feel safe.

How much does a NFL Waterboy make?

And, overall, the women we spoke to seemed to have very positive experiences. “I really felt empowered by the whole experience,” Swartz said.

But every team is different, and only time will tell if those being tested actually change for the better.

How do I become a NFL Waterboy?

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