“There’s no place in the NFL for cheerleaders in 2018.”
“The underlying premise of NFL cheerleaders is demeaning, presenting women as nothing more than objects to be looked at. With skimpy and suggestive outfits as the ‘uniform,’ their sole purpose is to thrill.”
“It’s always been a terrible message to send, and in this #MeToo era, there’s no place for it anymore. The NFL cheerleaders need to go. The NBA dance teams and the ice girls of the NHL while we’re at it, too.”
What you just read was the headline and excerpts from the first five or so paragraphs of USA Today Sports writer Nancy Armor from mid-April. What you are about to read is my initial reaction to that headline and the paragraphs that followed.
Come on, Nancy. girl Bomb the breaks. Before we get rid of anything, let’s talk about it for a second!
As a former NFL cheerleader, I found Armor’s tone and choice of words unnecessarily demeaning. Like myself, I was deeply offended by Armour’s use of the word “titilize”. Honestly, I don’t like the word, and it really made me uncomfortable. I digress
I spent four years as a cheerleader in the NFL, and the experiences each year brought helped shape me into the woman I am today. I had the opportunity to perform on many stages with some of the biggest names in the industry. I saw countries I never imagined I would see. I made a positive impact on lives, young and old, and I did it all with amazing women in their 30s.
I wouldn’t trade my time as an entertainer for anything. However, even with all my wonderful nostalgia, I can still admit that there are indeed flaws in this institution.
This is my perspective. And I am one of a thousand animators, past and present, with so many different perspectives. I also realize that perception is reality and there is no wrong perspective.
I cannot and will not argue that Armor is wrong. Instead, I encourage her, and anyone who shares her views, to be open to different perspectives. To see other sides and possible solutions before jumping to a rash solution.
In her article, Armor mentions two former cheerleaders who filed complaints with their respective teams and bravely told their stories. She sees her experiences, among other things, as justification for abolishing the entire institution. I see it as a reason to speak up and defend a much-needed reform. Just because I got it right doesn’t mean I can ignore those who didn’t and those who don’t.
Open your mind and let’s talk.
In late March, Ken Belson of the New York Times broke the story of a New Orleans Saints cheerleader being fired from the team over an Instagram post. Bailey Davis, who cheered for three seasons in New Orleans, posted a photo in a one-piece number to her private account, violating a social media policy that prohibits female cheerleaders from “appearing nude, semi-naked or in lingerie.”
Davis was also questioned for attending a party with Saints players in attendance, violating the “no fraternization” rule with players. She denied breaking both rules. The 22-year-old has since filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accusing the Saints of having separate rules for men (the players) and women (the cheerleaders).
When I read articles like this, I try to see both sides. For those on the outside looking in, meaning those who have never been NFL cheerleaders, I completely understand the outrage. While these rules are meant to protect women, they’re strangely restrictive and pretty sexist for 2018. Belson detailed one rule, for example, regarding players, cheerleaders and restaurants.
“The cheerleaders are told not to dine at the same restaurants as the players or talk to them in any detail. If a Saints cheerleader walks into a restaurant and a player is already there, she must leave. If a cheerleader is in a restaurant and a player is already there, he has to leave.”
1. What if it’s my birthday dinner (which was planned for months) with all my family and friends, and Drew Brees walks in?
2. Should I immediately get my cake, my gifts, my family, my friends, my check and leave?
3. If I don’t leave at a certain time (or not at all because it’s MY birthday dinner), is my job on the line?
4. Can we all agree that this is a ridiculous rule that needs to be changed?
But to be fair, I have to look at it from the inside looking out. As a former cheerleader, I know the rules are the rules. To my knowledge, every NFL team has some sort of anti-fraternization policy for their cheerleaders. The strict may vary. And it can be subjective, unfortunately.
At the time you sign your name to this contract, you agree to abide by the rules of this contract. As ridiculous as it is. Your signature indicates that you understand that any violation may result in your termination. period
Fast forward a few weeks and a second cheerleader comes forward with a complaint of gender and religious discrimination. Kristan Ware filed a complaint with the Florida Human Relations Commission against the league and the Miami Dolphins because she was not treated the same as the many players who openly express their faith. In the form of a touchdown celebration, for example, or on their social networks. The former three-year cheerleader for the Miami Dolphins said she felt harassed by team leaders after she posted a photo of her christening on her social media.
“My coaches sat down and said, ‘Let’s talk about your virginity,'” Ware said in an interview with People magazine. “And I thought, ‘This is not right.’
Hello? Invasion of privacy. An employee should not be shamed for their beliefs, and cheerleaders should be treated with the same respect. If, in fact, this is how the conversation went, this is terrible judgment on the part of the team’s leaders. I have nothing to justify it.
OK then. At this point in our discussion, I can understand if you’re considering joining Armor’s crusade to end NFL cheerleading. Well, hold your horses. It will get worse before it gets better.
A few days ago, Juliet Macur exposed the transgressions of the Washington football teams from a 2013 calendar photo shoot in Costa Rica. In this session, the cheerleaders were required to pose topless or in body paint, and FedEx Field suite holders and team sponsors were given access to the action. The article also detailed a night in which nine entertainers were selected to accompany a number of sponsors at a nightclub.
“They weren’t putting a gun to our heads, but we had to go,” said one of the cheerleaders. “They didn’t ask us, they told us.”
And they probably didn’t speak out because they were afraid of losing their jobs. The administration should not coerce women into doing something that makes them feel uncomfortable. Sure, this is textbook bullying, among other things.
While not as extreme as the situation in Washington, I have been in many settings where I have had to mingle with male sponsors. I’d be lying if I said I’d never been in a position where I was devalued as an intelligent woman, physically or verbally, but I’ve always been thankful I had bomb security to put scumbags in their place. Sometimes I even put them in place myself and I always just said, “It’s part of the job.”
How much more has to happen before we all agree that it’s time for cheerleaders to stop saying things like “it comes with the job?”
The conversation about working conditions for NFL cheerleaders is long overdue. While I’m glad we’re finally talking, I’d like to change the narrative. Most of the articles and tweets I’ve seen about the state of NFL cheerleaders highlight pay, restrictions, eating disorders, etc. Armor, for example, suggested that the “skimpy and suggestive” uniforms are the reason for the harassment of these women. .
I could go into a discussion about why beach volleyball players wear bikinis or even bring up examples of Sports Illustrated models praised for promoting body positivity. But, I won’t. Instead, I will point out that Armour, and she is not alone in this, missed an opportunity to point to the root of this industry’s problems. I think sportswriter Jane McManus said it best in this tweet:
NFL cheerleaders are the largest and most visible class of female team cheerleaders, and yet they are undervalued in terms of money. occupational safety and respect. It’s a recipe for exploitation.
— Jane McManus (@janesports) May 2, 2018
I couldn’t have said it better. Getting rid of the NFL cheers sends the message that these women are doing something wrong. they are not So why punish them?
How about we get rid of the men (and women) in power who place cheerleaders in these unfair circumstances? Also get rid of men who don’t know how to act when they see a woman’s belly, while we’re at it. Because, contrary to what Armor thinks, I wasn’t hired to be “looked at” in my “skimpy” uniform. I was hired to bring my 20+ years of dance training to creating dynamic in-game entertainment. That’s the premise of NFL cheerleading, and frankly, what we wear to do shouldn’t matter.
How about instead of shaming these women, we respect them as the quality entertainers that they are? Increase your salary. (Stop gambling. You can afford it.) Offer health insurance. Provide scholarship opportunities for those still in school. Treat them as equal employees. If mascots can make $20,000-$40,000 a year for their work, cheerleaders can make way above minimum wage, guys. This is no offense to pets.
How about making sure security details are assigned to entertainers at all appearances and events? This would be a more effective safety rule compared to the ones about social media and who can come to my birthday dinner. Maybe just ditch the dated control rules and update them to ones that apply to all employees.
How about we focus less on sexualizing female cheerleaders and focus more on their talent, careers, etc.?
How about we increase fan participation through rally days and community service events (hospital visits, Joint Services Organization events, etc.) and reduce suite visits with drunk fans?
How about we stop punishing these women for wanting to do a job they love and instead discuss ways to reform NFL cheerleading?
This is where the narrative needs to go. The stage is set for change, and now is the time to talk about ways to put that change into action. Look at both sides before you think about ending the institution. See a different perspective. Let’s talk about that.
Oh! P.S. When writing these stories, we try to avoid using photos that only show close-ups of women’s assets. You are not part of the problem. OKAY. Thanks.
.@MichelleDBeadle reacts to the New York Times report that Washington Redskins cheerleaders were required to go topless for a photo shoot in 2013 while spectators invited by the team looked on. (via @Get_Up) pic.twitter.com/rNbO3s590z
Staff writer covering the Dallas Cowboys | Ballerina | Writer | Sports enthusiast | Declare founder of HOPE
The group disbanded in 2021 due to financial reasons.
Why do NFL cheerleaders make so little?
The pay is very low considering the time commitment and the huge amount of revenue generated by NFL franchises: most cheerleaders are paid minimum wage, or just above. See the article : Darija Dugina was killed because of her influence on Russian politics. On match days, they often have to arrive at the stadium four to five hours early to train and prepare (time for which they are paid).
Is being an NFL cheerleader a full-time job? Most NFL cheerleading squads are a part-time job. Often, cheerleaders have completed or are currently attending college and go on to other careers after cheering for one to four seasons. Members participate in practices, training camp, games, appearances, photo shoots and charity events.
How much money does an average NFL cheerleader make?
According to information from several data sources, the average salary of NFL cheerleaders is $150 per game day. They also receive about $50 to $75 for a public appearance. To see also : The Falcons will rely on the ‘Dirty Birds’ in 2021. Cheerleading’s job is more like acting. To achieve these hot and sexy performances, they had to go through a lot.
Do cheerleaders get Super Bowl rings?
National Football League (NFL) cheerleaders will occasionally receive Super Bowl rings, depending on team owner policy. To see also : Alan Brazil becomes surprise Rangers cheerleader as Celtic stalwart tips his PSV standout for Ibrox stardom. In some cases, they can get bigger and better gems than players (like a giant pendant).
How Much Do NFL Cheerleaders Make at the Super Bowl? According to information from several data sources, the average salary of NFL cheerleaders is $150 per game day. They also receive about $50 to $75 for a public appearance. Cheerleading’s job is more like acting.