Not so happy: NFL cheerleaders championing for realistic wages

05/12/14 by Rennie Detore



For a profession with the word "cheer" in the title, these ladies are far from content.
A bevy of NFL cheerleaders from a variety of teams aren't too pleased with what they consider ridiculously low wages, and they're finally tossing aside their pom poms and ditching the scantily clad outfits in exchange for lawsuits and what seems to be, at first glance, a legitimate argument directed at NFL owners and teams.
The Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills and now N.Y. Jets are facing lawsuits from their respective cheerleaders, citing an unfair pay scale that is around $3 per hour for working the sidelines and drumming up enthusiasm for a four hour football game. That dollar amount also factors in time spent practicing, prepping but doesn't include expenses put forth by the cheerleaders that isn't reimbursed. Items like makeup and hair are the responsibility of the cheerleaders, not the league, a fact that is equal parts stunning and absurd.

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The cheerleaders aren't necessarily an integral part of the game itself, but if a city or team chooses to employ these women as part of the presentation, then all things associated with them needs to be equal. That includes salaries for the work put forth, expenses paid as part of job and being treated as more than just eye candy and an afterthought.
Teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers choose not to have cheerleaders on the sidelines, so this discussions for them is a moot point, but for the majority of the league it is an issue and conversation they can't ignore, even though it appears to be something they aren't treating as pertinent. Proof of that comes from the fact that the NFL is implementing the silent treatment with no real response to these lawsuits at this time, using the highly annoying and obligatory "no comment" tag line.
The NFL might be able to hold off this looming issue at the moment or perhaps fluff it off behind closed doors as nothing more than fodder for newspaper headlines and something they can fix, but only if they feel like it. The truth is the NFL is a billion dollar industry, and they have a decision to make when it comes to the cheerleaders working diligently on the sidelines.
Pay them more or get rid of them.
Those are the only two options on the table, because moving forward under the current pay scale is nothing to be happy about at the moment.

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