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Former NFL Cheerleader speaks out about years of mistreatment

Former NFL Cheerleader speaks out about years of mistreatment

– It’s gonna take a
village. It’s going to take a group of women to make
a difference in the NFL. We know our self worth.
We know our self value. We respect ourselves
more. This needs to stop. Intimidation needs to stop,
the silence needs to stop, and we need to speak up. Being raised in a military home, I was taught that the
military would break you down, break you down, break you down, but then they’ll rise
up these strong leaders. And as an NFL cheerleader, it was like I was broken down,
broken down, broken down, but then I was forced to stay down. There was no room to rise up. There was no room to be an
individual, to be a leader. I had to stay there. The first thing they mention is that you are here to be seen and not heard. So there’s no room for your
opinion or any concerns, that you just say “Yes Ma’am”
and you do what you’re told. You put a smile on your
face, and you just perform. You know, there is a sense of intimidation and manipulation on the squad, and anytime you raise an
opinion or ask a question, you know, you’re threatened that there’s a million other girls
that would take your position. So you either deal with it or you leave. I started hearing more and more often of how you’re only special
when you’re in the uniform. You know, you’re completely replaceable. All we need is a pretty face. If a fan comes up to you
and he touches your butt or grabs you too tight, you’re
just supposed to make nice and just smile and be like “Oh
whoops, your hand slipped.” I think about this, if I
would have come on the team at 18 years old and that’s
what I was being taught on how to handle sexual harassment, you’re teaching me that
my voice doesn’t matter. There was a lot of lack
of support in many areas. When we got hurt or injured,
we were basically told that we were weak and we just have to toughen up and deal with it. By the end of my career I was
dancing on four broken bones, two sprained MCLs, two
sprained meniscuses, left shoulder and right hip. And it was this sense of trying to prove that I was a strong woman, that I could take anything
that comes my way, that I wasn’t weak, that
I wasn’t too emotional, that I wasn’t too sensitive, that I wasn’t all of these
names that they were calling me. It started to raise
questions of the people that were in position as leaders. They’re not only controlling
us on the sidelines, controlling us in interviews, controlling us in photo
shoots, but they also have a sense of control and
ownership in our personal lives. One important trial to me was I had just given my
life publicly to Christ, and I got baptized on April 10th, 2016. And then I’m on the way to my interview, which was two days after I got baptized, and I’m sitting in this interview room with my director and all of my coaches, and they wanna talk about
my vow to wait for marriage, about my True Love Waits ring. And it was shocking to me,
one, just the fact that something like that was being
brought up in an interview. And then to be accused that
everyone knows this about me, and that I was talking
about it to everyone. It just wasn’t true. And I responded saying, “I don’t think everyone
does know this about me. This is just my personal
conviction to God. This is just something I believe in.” And it was interpreted that I
had taken something that was once upon a time pure and beautiful, and I’ve made it dirty. You tell me that I need
to develop into a woman, it just doesn’t make sense to me. I got to see the football players publicly share their faith
without any limitations. And I got told that I
couldn’t mention God, and that I couldn’t mention Jesus Christ on my social media page. And I was just thinking
me, a woman, a cheerleader, when did I lose my rights? Why can’t I share my faith publicly? It was like they were making me choose. Do you wanna be a Christian or do you wanna be a cheerleader? I guess there came a time where I had to ask myself, at what price? At what price was I willing
to pay to be a cheerleader? It was the hardest decision
I’ve ever had to make. I didn’t wanna give up. I thought that by leaving,
it meant that I lost. That they won. That I was proven as
everything that they called me. But what I realized was that not staying and me walking away was
what made me strong. I walked away from
something that was toxic. It was poison for me. That confusion that I had, that brokenness, that not knowing my worth, just losing my own value. And to release that uniform from my hands, to let go of something that
I thought was my everything. What they told me was
that I was only special in the uniform, and now I don’t have it. And even though then I thought
that I had lost everything, I actually lost nothing,
and I gained everything. If women stood together, it
would be harder to break us than if we were standing alone. I want to help encourage
and genuinely empower women. Do I think NFL cheerleaders should be getting paid a whole lot more? Definitely. Especially at least enough to live off of. I mean I was working three other jobs, and I still was sinking. I still didn’t have enough money. It needs to be a full-time
job, full-time pay, with benefits. I mean, we get
injuries all the time too. We need someone there. We need a trainer, we need
an outlet, we need a mentor. We need someone that we
can go to with concerns. I really really pray that my
story will encourage someone, and that it hopefully provides strength and courage that other women will take a stand against what’s
happening behind the uniform.

37 thoughts on “Former NFL Cheerleader speaks out about years of mistreatment”

  1. dude if its too hot get the fuck out of the kitchen! did you think being a game dancer wearing your underwear would make you an activist for social rights & individuality- SERIOUSLY? no one forced you to be cheerleader

  2. The New York Times wrote several stories about the lousy pay and poor working conditions for cheerleaders in the NFL. I was amazed that these talented dancers want to work for peanuts in such demeaning conditions, being forced to do a lot of unpaid appearances, and abide by intrusive rules. It's a rip-off! And yet they sign up…why?

  3. Their issue was with anything that shows independent thought. Disgusting. Christ…NFL…easy choice.

  4. Take my negative vote, if you feel in such way, just don't work for the NLF, back to flipping burgers at Mc Donald's. I'm really fed up with this kind of testimonials, you're not living in a shite third world country like India or Pakistan or El Salvador… just walk away, but obviously sometimes the ambition win over deluded "cheerleaders" than still think they can make it to the next level… wake up, please.

  5. Just imagine if you had become a Muslim.. The toxicity would have been much worse..
    Why any woman would put up with the ridiculous rules and policies is absolutely mind blowing. There are so many other ways to make a living..

  6. The Jills made a case out of this and the Bills did the right thing and ended the needless headache of having a cheerleading squad. Other than some pervs in the end zone, no one even notices they are gone. Do I think they could be paid more? Sure but why? The game is on the field and that is all that matters. Do cheerleaders do good things in the community? Absolutely. But I view it as a volunteer thing and not a paying gig. Everyone involved knows going in what the deal is yet they still take it because they like the adulation and being on the field. Effectively that is your pay. If you don't want to do it then there are 100 others who are lining up to take your place. But with NFL players dying of CTE, that is the issue that needs the most focus. The cheerleader thing is a self imposed hardship. So just quit, disband whatever.

  7. To become an NFL cheerleader you're seeking physical perfection, bypassing deeper beauty. Perfect smiles would express they love inner beauty but then their eyes move to the mirror.

  8. People are asking why anyone would want to become a cheerleader. This is my guess.
    The women are accomplished dancers. They like dancing. They like the excitement and vibe of game day.
    They like being part of their NFL team – it's an instant introduction – I'm a cheerleader for xxx team.
    It gives them reflected glory from their team.
    It's status in the local community, and part of a larger NFL community of cheerleaders.
    It makes people happy, including them. The thrill of appearing on the Jumbotron, on the TV broadcasts.

    There are all sorts of reasons why to be a cheerleader.

    BUT from the NFL point of view, they are an ancillary service at games, like peanut vendors and merchandise sellers.
    They are a budget line item, costing them money for costumes, travel expenses when they travel and their per diems.
    They are not necessary to the game, distinctly less necessary than the beer vendors, whose absence would definitely cost the team on the bottom line.

    They are roughly equivalent to the volunteer marching bands (Baltimore Ravens Marching Band, anyone?)

    The crime is when the NFL decides to dictate behavior and force them to entertain clients.
    Would they do that with beer sellers? Clarinetists with the marching band?


    So, NFL make up your mind.
    Are these dancers employees? Then give them the same rights and protections as the athletes and other employees.
    If not, then stay out of their personal lives.

  9. Y'all will stand behind her and act like she really saying something .. But Kaepernick still ant got a job yet ???????? But that's none of my business smh .. fuck outta here with this shit and tell her take her ass on somewhere and get real job if she don't like it .. smh

  10. The Chicago Bears got rid of the Honey Bears years ago…. Nobody is asking where the cheerleaders are at.

  11. We all need to fight injustice as we perceive it in our lives. Good luck Kristan and keep fightin' the good fight.

  12. tbh cheerleaders in general should be removed, waste of resources and money imo, could use that for other things in the organization, dont think anyone comes to a game even giving a thought to them

  13. Beautifully shared. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story and stand by your faith!!! 🙏🏽

  14. Why are there cheerleaders in the NFL anyway? I've only been to two NFL games in my life and I never cared for them, I was there to watch the game. I likely spent halftime waiting in line at the bathroom.

    I am shocked at how little they make. However, if they don't care for the treatment they ought to pursue some other career. Don't be surprised that rich men are trying to take advantage of you when you spend your Sunday's parading around in front of thousands wearing skimpy outfits with a plastered smile on your faces.

  15. the nfl really stands for ,No Fun League.These woman do have rights and its messed up on what they go through,true just leave and be happy that you don't have to deal with stupidity from the nfl

  16. to say someone is not special out of uniform shocked me. they may not be seen as celebrities in normal life but that does not take away the uniqueness of the person. enough is enough, change is needed

  17. I want to urge the cheerleaders to please walk away from the NFL and let the leagues drown themselves into bankruptcy. I understand they don't want to be mistreated and it terrible but they have no business supporting the NFL that doesn't respect our national anthem. They can find happiness and better job opportunities to make a good living plus better treatment. We need teachers, lawyers, biologists,doctors.

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