2017-02-16 / Sports

NFL cheerleaders should be paid more

THE PRESSBOX

Did you see the story that came out last week about a former NFL cheerleader suing the NFL and each of the 32 teams for low wages? Hold on to your pom pons, folks. This one isn’t even close to being fair, equitable, or even close to minimum wages.

The former San Francisco 49ers cheerleader, known in the suit as Jane Doe, is alleging that the NFL and teams conspired to keep wages way below anything close to minimum wage while their football playing counterparts make millions of dollars. Oh, there’s a surprise, right?

After the suit hit the national media, others granted on-camera interviews stating that they only made between $100 and $150 per game, were not paid for practices, or any other “team branding” events including public appearances, parades and dare we say, photo shoots for calendars? One added that they weren’t paid until the end of the season, either, were prohibited from cheering for any other cheer squads and couldn’t compete or be recruited by other cheer teams within the NFL, and even other squads not related to football such as NBA dance teams or cheerleading squads. The suit estimates damages between $100 million and $300 million. Darned right, ladies.

Listen. I know most people consider NFL cheerleaders as eye candy on the sidelines. As representatives of the NFL, this is just plain outrageous. With 16 NFL games on the schedule each season, that means these women make a measly $1,600 and don’t get the money until after Christmas. Mark my words, this one is going to result in a lot of money being awarded, as it should. In fact, a New Jersey court has already approved a $325,000 settlement between the New York Jets and its cheerleaders over pay discrepancies. \Each cheerleader named in the class-action suit will receive $2,500 for each season worked in the past two years. That’s still chump change. I also found a report online that in 2014, the Oakland Raiders were forced to pay out $1.25 million to settle a similar suit over unfair wages lodged by their cheerleaders. I never aspired to be a cheerleader, but know plenty who are working in the field. I had no idea they were so devalued by their bosses. They spend a lot of their time, apparently when they aren’t working two other jobs, training, learning new routines and making appearances. What a giant pile of dog crap!

I attended a then St. Louis Rams cheerleading practice several years ago when my niece was getting ready to perform as junior cheerleaders for their annual Cancer Awareness game. If I knew then, what I know now. It’s a good thing my niece is interested in vet school. In some states they are paying incoming veterinarians’ training because of a shortage in many states. I can tell you that she’s going to be making a lot more than $1,600 in a three-month span!

Mommas, don’t let your daughter’s grow up to be professional cheerleaders. Unbelievable!

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