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Are NFL Cheerleaders Treated Fairly?

Are NFL Cheerleaders Treated Fairly?


– [Narrator] Most NFL
teams have cheerleaders. You see them on the
sidelines during games, and sometimes during half time. Looks like they’re having fun, right? But recent reports of harassment, lack of compensation, and gender discrimination
has shined a light on the treatment of
cheerleaders in the NFL. The New York Times
reported on some alleged details of the job that are
sketchy to say the least. We talked to four former NFL cheerleaders who shared their experiences. – My experience was very positive. I really felt empowered
by the entire experience. – [Narrator] The first
team to have cheerleaders was the Baltimore Colts in 1954. Since then, getting a highly-coveted spot on the squad has become super competitive. Every year, thousands of women try out for the job. That’s right, it’s a paid position, which is officially
considered to be part-time, and each team sets the
guidelines and pay scale for it’s respective squad. Not only do the cheerleaders have to be on-hand for games, they also have mandatory
practices and appearances. But as it turns out, they’re not always getting properly compensated for their time. In 2014, the Oakland Raiders paid a 1.2 million dollar settlement to former cheerleaders after a class action lawsuit
alleging wage theft. – I think that the women are intimidated. – [Narrator] Sharon Vinick is an attorney who worked on the 2014
class action lawsuit against the Raiders. – 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. And they should be grateful for whatever opportunity they have. 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. And there’s this sense of equity that some of the women
just don’t perceive. – [Narrator] But this
spring, thousands of women still showed up to try to
make the cut for next season. We wanted to find out what
the job is really like, from the women who’d actually done it. Twin sisters Dresdynn and Schuyler Warnell cheered for the Houston
Texans from 2010 to 2014. If I do have a daughter in the future, I would definitely allow her to cheer for the Houston Texans. – [Narrator] Jennifer Omohundro cheered for two teams over the
course of six seasons. She started with the
Tennessee Titans in 1999, and finished with the
Atlanta Falcons in 2005. – I’m sad to hear that there’s actually this really negative
press that’s going around. It’s a wonderful experience, I think it’s for everyone, kind of how you treat
it and how you take it. – These are my pom poms. – [Narrator] Rachel Swartz cheered for the Philadelphia Eagles for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. – My experience was very positive, I really felt empowered
by the entire experience. It is really unfortunate to hear a lot of the other stories about women who have not had the same positive experience I had. – [Narrator] We asked
these former cheerleaders to address the issues raised
in the recent headlines, and we started with compensation. – [Interviewer] Can you give me an idea of what you were paid, or what you could take home
in a season on average? – I mean, would you feel
as if it were appropriate if I asked you how much you made? (laughing) So, no. We were paid for every
hour we were in uniform, or in practice. – It would not be something that you would live off of. It’s been a long time, I don’t remember. But I can tell you it
was definitely minimal. – I think we got $200 a game? – Yeah, $200 a game, so, with that $200 a game, plus practicing, plus the appearances, we got paid for practicing, we got paid for appearances, if we had to drive to the appearance, we got reimbursed for. – They paid our mileage. – For the mileage. I read articles about like, the Oakland Raiders, and I’m just like, in shock, I’m like, how does this happen? – The cheerleaders for
the Oakland Raiders, for example, got $1,250 per season. We understand from reports that mascots get paid between $40-$60,000 per season, plus benefits. And the least played NFL player, someone who’s a benchwarmer and doesn’t play in a
game gets paid $100,000. So $1,250 is less money than someone who’s selling hot dogs in the stands gets paid. – [Narrator] NFL cheerleading squads have strict social media restrictions. So strict, in fact, that a former New Orleans Saints cheerleader was fired over an Instagram post. She’s currently suing for discrimination. According to the former
cheerleaders we talked to, these restrictions are common. – I know it’s a bit different
in other organizations, but we did not have
Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. We weren’t allowed to have any of those, and that was mainly for our protection. I think there had been
situations in the past where security measures had to be taken, and I think this was just one of them, and this was just one
of the rules they had in order to make sure everyone felt safe and protected. – Personally, I always thought the rule was kinda stupid. I mean, to be quite frank, you know, it’s just like, how are you going to tell me that I can’t post part of my life? – Like, it consumes your life. – It consumes your life for the most part, so for the organizations telling, you know, you personally, that you can’t post what
you do most of your days, I thought was really, really dumb. – But I think it’s so funny when people like kind of, retire, we’d say, or don’t make the team, and you see their Instagram or Facebook and it’s like, pictures. – [Narrator] While the no
social media rule is common, some teams, like the Denver Broncos, allow their cheerleaders to post from social media accounts officially affiliated with the team. One of the most common
rules for NFL cheerleaders is that interaction with
players is strictly prohibited, and violation of this rule can result in immediate termination. – There were general rules
of no fraternization, meaning like, no dating the players. Even though they run passes on the field, sometimes that would be the only time we were really around them. I mean, they’re professionals, they’re doing their thing as athletes, and we were doing ours. – They make it very clear. – Yes. – Once you make the team, you know, they give this big speech, that you cannot be
associated with a player. – Because we will get
fired and they won’t. – Yes. They would even go as far as saying if, say you’re at a restaurant, and a couple of the players come in. You know, we would have to leave, because they don’t even
want us in the same room. – I think it’s sort of like a rule that you would see in any other business, don’t date your co-workers. I think it’s the same type of principle. – There’s still some players that reach out to cheerleaders and the cheerleaders reach out to them, so obviously we signed these contracts, but not everyone abides by the rules, it’s just, I think, human nature. – I would say there were some
uncomfortable situations, but the organization did everything to really protect us and you know, really preempt any of those situations, whether that’s by having security with us at all appearances, or you know, when you’re in the suites taking pictures, having somebody hold a football instead of putting their arms around us. I do think again, as these situations come up, the organization really
took the right steps in making sure we felt safe at all times. – I think that comes with territory, you know, with anything, if you’re gonna put a
bunch of girls together, there’s gonna be some,
mostly male interaction, or male attention that
you really don’t want. So because of that, we always had a police escort that would walk. – Yes, the Texans are
very good at security. – Yeah, they were good at making sure that we felt safe. Our second year, a few girls had like, stalkers. – The Texans organization
was like, right on it. They never had us worry
or question our safety. Every time we practiced, we had a police officer with us. We never were like, alone. – [Narrator] So, the women we talked to seemed to have experiences that were overwhelmingly positive. But every team is different, and only time will tell
if the ones under scrutiny will actually change for the better. – What would be your
advice to a cheerleader, an NFL cheerleader who is on the fence about seeking further help
about a possible injustice? – My advice would be that
you should think hard about whether you want
to be part of a system that allows this to happen, or whether you wanna change that system, because it’s only by women like our brave clients Lacy and Sarah standing up and advocating for a change that you’re gonna see
differences as you go forward. So I encourage all women to stand up for the world they’d like to see. – Every experience is different, and if you’re a former NFL cheerleader and you wanna share your story with us, we’d love to hear it, and we’d love to tell it. So if you wanna share it with us, please email me at
[email protected]

100 thoughts on “Are NFL Cheerleaders Treated Fairly?”

  1. I think think the salary question was appropriate for this interview. It was applicable to the argument. Of course she won't ask the interviewer his salary and she also wouldn't ask him any of the other questions he ask her.

    I understand if you don't want to disclose your salary, but shaming the interviewer for asking it seems to be missing the point.

  2. Cheerleaders are payed less because it is not part of the sport of football to compare the quarterbacks in the NFL to cheerleaders and say “oh they make millions!” YEAH ITS BECAUSE THEYRE THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE GAME. People dont go to football games to watch the cheerleaders.

  3. The reason quarterbacks get payed so much is because it’s hard to get a good one and not every team has a good one but there are literally thousands of people who danced in there past that could do the same thing they do who are willing to do it
    It simple supply and demand

  4. It’s their choice. If they behave properly,no one will harass them. They sell their looks and they know what they should expect.
    Why should I feel bad for them?

  5. That lady threw out any credibility she had when she talked about cheerleaders being treated unfairly because they aren’t paid like quarterbacks. Jesus Christ.

  6. This is my opinion. Don’t compare qbs to cheerleaders. I like the safety aspect. Finally, play them at least 10,000. I mean it is a part time job but come on 1200 is pretty low

  7. Why do we need cheerleaders in a game? Especially when they are not paid well so whats the point??? Just getting them half naked??? Its a waste of everything!!!

  8. 1:21 I mean.. people don't go to the games for the cheerleaders, they go for the football.. why is this so hard to understand?

  9. What next?would you compare a pilot to a flight attendant?however i do agree that cheerleaders are underpaid,and things could've been a bit better

  10. "the women we talked to had positive experience" says the Business Insider at 7:40! The correct version is "we preferred to select only these four women to talk in our so called objective video because we seem to look critical but actually we don't want to be critical of NFL or their practices"! Business Insider, you should stop reporting on these issues! It is waste of your and our time!

  11. I don’t believe that you should compare a cheerleader to a quarterback. That being said they should be payed more. Not only that but they should make it fair on both ends yes as a cheerleader you probably shouldn’t date a quarterback but you shouldn’t punish just the cheerleader and not the quarterback. Cheerleaders work really hard all year round to stay in the professional league. They have to upkeep their looks and appearance in media. The social media restricted rules seem smart too as if you are showing something that doesn’t put you in the best light NFL will be hearing about it. So all and all pay more and get better cheerleaders but make it equal to your football players. I would suggest paying them as much as the mascot as they do similar purposes sense their job is to upkeep the energy of the crowd and support the football players.

  12. Some of the women are dumb stop taking a stick up the ass XD Stand up for yourself. Im no feminist, but have some damn balls and self worth. Stop proving the point, that your all looks. v.v shameful

  13. Oh yeah? Lets fire all cheerleaders! No more discrimination! Yeah!

    Thats what you want, right? You are the one need it, not us.

  14. I'm pretty positive these ladies knew all of this stuff before signing their contracts. Notice they are "former" disgruntle cheerleaders getting paid to talk about their negative experiences.

  15. The Rachel broad was annoying

    It seems like a lot of them liked the job, so I don’t understand where all of these lawsuits are coming from 🤔

  16. So all the comments there… I work at a restaurant and there are days I break down crying because the treatment I get from HR and customers. I actually work at two restaurants, but only one is very stressful due to the type of cliental we have.

    It is wrong to say that “no one put a gun to your head to force you to work there” or “just quit, you already have another job”… the thing is I need two jobs to get ahead in life and not live paycheck two paycheck. It’s like these ladies. Just because they work their job “from their own free will” (because you never know the external pressures they go through to make them stay) it doesn’t mean you can treat them like shit, harass them, or cheat them from their pay for all the hours they but in to work. No one is saying for them to get millions of dollars to dance. It is still a profession and should be paid as such. The settlements come from making cheerleaders practice without clocking in to be paid. The settlements also come during certain hours that they hit overtime and not get paid.

    Dancing is a professional sport and they are professional athletes. It takes time and practice to be good

  17. That piece is so horribly made.
    It's like if in a documentary about kid sexual abuse in…(Plug big organisation)…
    You would put kids that would tell how they had a positive experience.
    It's just distracting and drag the whole piece to get the same ''everything was nice….For me''.
    Lay the current situation, lay the allegation, lay the facts, lay a counter opinion, finish on a hopeful note.

  18. Cheerleading just seems to be women showing their vulvas and labia, albeit covered in a bit of fabric, over and over again.

  19. The whole point is they are not the main attraction. They should start their own sport where teams cheer competitively. That will earn them the big bucks.

  20. they're paid less than all those other people because they're very replacable and not at all necessary for the entertainment of the game. even the hot dog stand worker is necessary for the entertainment value of a game because spectators get hungry. no one ever goes "damn i really need to see some cheerleading right now".

  21. I don't get this video, they are complaining about not getting paid enough to make a living out of it, but they said that it is a part-time job, so then they will of course not get paid that much. Some of them also complained about not getting paid as much as the football players… of course are they not getting paid like the football players because NO ONE IS GOING TO A FOOTBALL MATCH JUST FOR THE CHEERLEADERS

  22. I think even super attractive people have bad days- I want to say that I know from personal experience but no-lol. Let’s face it. The modelling industry does all but starve the models and now these women are told that the positions they get are prestigious so that they ought to take what they’re given and just accept it. There has to be a line somewhere and I hope that they earn a fair and living wage – that any medical from the type of work they do is fully covered. I suspect there are a lot of strains, sprains, twists and other more serious injuries. And can I just say that predatory bosses are in all industries? I’m saying it. They’re everywhere.

  23. I dont think cheerleaders should be paid as much as qb but at least 30k dollars a year would be fair enough.

  24. Why is it officially "part time"? There is no "part time" for this kind of job, you need to put your whole world on hold to pursue it, the same as the players, so why the inequity? Just cause they are pretty? Because they are women? They are not PURELY hired because of their looks, its a very athletic job, and they need a lot of skill and fitness to do it, so why the disrespect?

  25. Nobody is forcing them to do it. Seems like they're desperate for the job anyways! They all seemed to be happy to dance too!

  26. The reason the quarter back is payed more is because his position is needed in football unlike cheerleaders

  27. Another point is the lady says that bench warmers get paid $100,000 that's because they are important if someone gets injured

  28. The reason they don’t get paid a lot is because people don’t come to watch cheerleaders they come to watch the players.

  29. I hate this – they are not satisfied with their wage ? Quit that damn job and find another …. I believe that 99.9% of cheerleader wouldn't apply for hard manual work and thats the main problem … you are comparing cheerleader to a mascot ? Damn than quit cheerleading and apply for job to be a mascot ….

  30. Honestly Rachel Swartz was kinda kissing the nfl butt I mean… she was petty hesitant with her answer

  31. How can you treat Beauty and sexuality equal like that they get special treatment some people can't get them some people get them

  32. The lawyer must be a Demonrat. It would be nice to get paid really well if you are a cheerleader, but if there are 500 more girls lined up to take your spot for little pay, then that's your market value. The players are performing in a game that carries millions of dollars. They are the producers and the drawcard. There are not 500, nor 100 but maybe only 10 players who an owner/manager considers worthy to fill each position. Just a massive difference. Such a socialistic belief that someone should get paid heaps like someone else when that someone is not bringing in the income. It is the players on the team who attract the revenues, not the girls.

  33. While social media use could be freed up, and the girls shouldn't have to leave a restaurant if players come in. And you can imagine the big sex romps if players and cheerleaders were to socialize, OMG, so you need to protect the girls from being subject to sexual abuse from players – that will be a very real thing. But adults should be allowed some socialization. Imagine being a wife or girlfriend of a player; you wouldn't want the cheerleaders anywhere near them.

  34. This Rachel girl just makes me want to punch her in the face. And all the girls that make any squad are the skin tinny girls that have no meat on their bones or any mussel. They really shouldn’t be called cheerleaders. All they do is dance in heels in the grass with poms. Where are the lifts and jumps. Hell I don’t even think they know what a back spot or a base is. All they practice is dancing. They are just the dancers at a football game in nothing but mostly their underwear on. Go look up a real picture of a cheerleader and compare it to what they are wearing. This is horrible in every way shape or form. It’s disgusting for a little girl to look at them and say I want to look like that when I get older.

  35. For nonconformity the world whips you with its displeasure. And therefore a man must know how to estimate a sour face. The by-standers look askance on him in the public street or in the friend's parlour. If this aversation had its origin in contempt and resistance like his own, he might well go home with a sad countenance; but the sour faces of the multitude, like their sweet faces, have no deep cause, but are put on and off as the wind blows and a newspaper directs. Yet is the discontent of the multitude more formidable than that of the senate and the college. It is easy enough for a firm man who knows the world to brook the rage of the cultivated classes. Their rage is decorous and prudent, for they are timid as being very vulnerable themselves. But when to their feminine rage the indignation of the people is added, when the ignorant and the poor are aroused, when the unintelligent brute force that lies at the bottom of society is made to growl and mow, it needs the habit of magnanimity and religion to treat it godlike as a trifle of no concernment.

  36. I’m gonna link a video that describes these issues in a more informative way with interviews from people who are actually speaking out about these issues, for anyone interested cause this coverage is weak lmao.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kgVkXcS91uI

  37. it takes years of training to be a quarterback also nobody just watches a football game for the cheerleaders and they are lucky to have that job any job you should be thankful for

  38. I hate that they honestly showed the positive and not the negative. I need two sides of the story to fully understand the situation.

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