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League has no comment on proliferation of cheerleader lawsuits

Carolina Panthers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Getty Images

In recent weeks, three different NFL teams have had lawsuits filed against them by current and/or former members of cheerleading squads for various alleged wage violations.

For now, the NFL has nothing to say publicly about the developments.

“We do not have a comment on these team litigation issues,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT by email on Thursday.  “We are following developments.”

It’s wise for the NFL to be keeping an eye on the litigation.  It would be even wiser for the NFL to be privately giving its teams unambiguous advice regarding the appropriate tactics for managing and compensating their cheerleaders.

It’s unclear how widespread the litigation will become.  So far, the Raiders, Bengals, and Bills have been sued for not paying appropriate wages to cheerleaders.

For some teams, an obligation to pay fair wages, as enforced by litigation, could prompt teams to ditch the cheerleading function entirely, as the Bills have done (at least for now).  If teams aren’t willing to pay fair wages that comply with the law, then they should get out of the cheerleading business.

But no team can say it’s not able to afford the minimum wage for all hours worked for the cheerleading squad.  These are billion-dollar businesses, and some of them allegedly (or actually) have taken advantage of a situation in which the sense of competition for a spot on the squad easily can overcome a willingness to insist on proper compensation.

Even if the league decides to not publicly address the situation, anything that reflects poorly on a team in turn reflects poorly on the league, and in turn tarnishes the shield.

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32 Responses to “League has no comment on proliferation of cheerleader lawsuits”
  1. thadamntruth says: Apr 24, 2014 11:17 PM

    No twerk….No pay!!!

  2. rodvmunchiii says: Apr 24, 2014 11:19 PM

    Luckily for the ladies in Tampa there’s a ton of strip clubs within walking distance of Raymond James.

  3. catquick says: Apr 24, 2014 11:20 PM

    That’s the end of cheerleaders in the NFL. the owners don’t need the grief.

  4. vbe2 says: Apr 24, 2014 11:21 PM

    Do away with all cheerleader squads. They are now a liability. A liability that is not needed and does nothing to win their franchises a Super Bowl.

    Get rid of them all.

  5. thegreatgabbert says: Apr 24, 2014 11:27 PM

    “Give us an M…
    Give us an O..
    Give us an N..
    Give us an E..
    ……….”

  6. thegreatgabbert says: Apr 24, 2014 11:31 PM

    It’s one field of endeavor where a “sit down work action” would be quickly noticed.

  7. thegreatgabbert says: Apr 24, 2014 11:35 PM

    The courtroom was packed as everyone waited for the cheerleaders to show up wearing their skimpy lawsuits.

  8. gobearsblog1984 says: Apr 24, 2014 11:51 PM

    It’s really not that hard to just quit your job, if you feel you are not getting paid fairly. This is more a situation of people trying to renegotiate contracts after they have been fully performed.

    Why do you insist on upending the free market? I really enjoy your football coverage, but I would really appreciate it if you laid off on the political commentary. It’s the reason why I don’t follow Peter King.

  9. lostsok says: Apr 24, 2014 11:58 PM

    This has been despicable for years. These ladies are intrinsic to the nature of the game. Minimum wage? Sheesh. They should be paid a solid, competitive wage for what they bring to the sport.

    How can teams afford to have double-digit vice-presidents who do very little yet can’t afford to pay someone who actually represents their team?

    Millionaires are cheap jerks.

  10. 4512dawg4512 says: Apr 25, 2014 12:21 AM

    Now cheerleaders are suing the NFL? This is getting awesome!

  11. footballtalk1 says: Apr 25, 2014 12:33 AM

    Blame Goodell and his $ 44 million dollar annual salary. .

  12. simplesimon1 says: Apr 25, 2014 12:54 AM

    “Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered”

    Well, when you can claim you’re the best at everything, and show you have the best audience and viewership in the world, you start to get away with taking liberties where you shouldn’t. When that happens, eventually, the above statement becomes a reality.

    You are the richest sport in North America, yet you have a free “farm league” at your disposal? You are the richest sport in North America yet you seem to not care what fans think, as if there couldn’t ever be a possible repercussion? You’re the richest sport in North America but you can’t pay your employees minimum wage, let alone a decent wage?

    Be careful…that above statement first echoed by Mark Cuban, then by Ford Jr isn’t a fairytale…it could easily happen.

  13. bobzilla1001 says: Apr 25, 2014 1:16 AM

    Like any casual fan, these “cheerleaders” don’t know if a football is stuffed or blown up. Get rid of them. They add nothing to the sport.

  14. pabrownsfan says: Apr 25, 2014 3:18 AM

    I for one am shocked. I have never heard of a billion dollar business abusing and employee ;)

  15. wyrdawg says: Apr 25, 2014 4:05 AM

    There’s no cheerleader union, although they post the hottest cheerleader pics on their home page during the season.

    Maybe Cuban was right? NFL = Enron.

  16. wyrdawg says: Apr 25, 2014 4:09 AM

    Hey, here’s a question:

    Do the cheerleaders get royalty payments for having their images blasted all over nfl.com?

    Get on the investigative aspect of journalism. Add “some type” of checks and balances here.

  17. olcap says: Apr 25, 2014 6:16 AM

    I guess the Stealers have a comfort here, having never had cheerleaders.

    This is just some little messy stuff here that the owners’ BFFs in Washington will “help” them out on, you can be sure.

  18. dcapettini says: Apr 25, 2014 7:04 AM

    Why not use this opportunity to dispense with this stupid crap? Cheerleaders are neither necessary or interesting. At best, they are a distraction. Either hire real performers that put on a good show, or get rid of them all together. In high school and perhaps even in college, they have a function, but in pro sports they are embarrassing.

  19. williamwallacewouldhavebeenaraider says: Apr 25, 2014 7:29 AM

    So it’s not just the Raiders. Which is interesting because when the Raiders were hit with their lawsuit it was another instance from most media outlets of Oakland being a laughingstock.

  20. primenumber19 says: Apr 25, 2014 7:41 AM

    How is the nfl so greedy? It really disgusts me and makes it tougher to watch the games

  21. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Apr 25, 2014 7:55 AM

    While I think cheerleaders can add to the NFL experience, they aren’t essential to the game. It seems to me that this should be between them and the stadium management/team owners not so much the NFL.

  22. sailbum7 says: Apr 25, 2014 8:00 AM

    These cheerleaders knew the deal when they took the job. As far as any sexual harassment or other demeaning treatment goes, I can support them. As far as how much they get paid, they knew the deal when they took the job. I used to live in the same place where a lot of the Chargers cheerleaders did and they would practice in the aerobics room in the fitness center. They all knew the deal on the pay and became cheerleaders for the exposure it gave them and because they loved the team, not for the money. I think at the time (I am going back quite a few years) they got paid $100/game. This was not the only job for any of them. Most of them treated it more like a hobby, the same way people who participate in sports for the enjoyment do, rather than a job. I realize that I am going back a lot of years, but I can not imagine that this has changed all that much.

  23. floriosnuts says: Apr 25, 2014 8:10 AM

    Sounds like it may be time to end this whole cheerleader thing.

  24. bengalsucker says: Apr 25, 2014 8:52 AM

    Seriously, just do away with cheerleaders. Contrary to what the teams may want to think, 95% of the guys at the game couldn’t care less about the cheerleaders being there. And I’d much rather watch paint dry than watch their “dance routines” at half time or in between quarters. Do away with them and be done with all this nonsense.

  25. joshhogan73 says: Apr 25, 2014 9:27 AM

    Cheerleaders go through cuts just like the players. They are beautiful and add to the experience. Removing them would be a bad move. Pay them a wage like a good full time job.

  26. bkg63 says: Apr 25, 2014 10:36 AM

    Blow the whole thing up! Leave cheerleaders for H.S. and college sports; don’t need ‘em at the professional level….

  27. mediasloppy says: Apr 25, 2014 11:40 AM

    They hardly get paid. That’s just being cheap.

  28. Moudabo says: Apr 25, 2014 11:41 AM

    Why the disrespect for these fit, pretty women?
    Cheerleaders work harder and put in longer
    hours than most of us know. There is nothing
    wrong with asking for fair compensation.

  29. jaclyn1973 says: Apr 25, 2014 12:40 PM

    This is nuts. Being a cheerleader for a team is not meant to be a career. Before they ever try out they know the rules, they know the hours, they know about the hard work, and they know about the pay.
    It’s not a career. If they don’t want to be a cheerleader then go do something else…..

  30. bonzai2oo says: Apr 25, 2014 2:21 PM

    Been to a NFL game, in the stadium? For the fans walking around before the game, or at off-site events, they are the face of the team – it’s pretty rare to get to talk to a player, much less the owner. Then, during the game, there are a LOT of commercial breaks and the infamous sideline reviews to add some DULL to a game day experience. Keep the cheerleaders, they’re fun. No it’s not a career, but every part time job still should pay a reasonable amount for every minute you’re there.

  31. bassplucker says: Apr 25, 2014 10:26 PM

    Seriously, what’s wrong with a little eye candy on the sidelines? Between the endless TV timeouts, replay stoppages, injuries etc. there is precious little else to look at during the considerable downtime of your typical NFL game.

    These teams rake in a bazillion dollars a year… why not show a little love to the cheerleading squads (financially speaking, of course).

  32. jm91rs says: Apr 28, 2014 11:03 AM

    I knew an NFL cheerleader. She was on the “B” team, basically only got to work game days if someone else was sick or injured. She worked a ton of hours every week practicing, but she only got paid when she worked games which was like twice in a year. Even then it was basically a pride thing as the compensation didn’t even come close to justifying the work and torment. They encouraged her to get fake breasts and were on her all the time about her weight (she was tiny already). If I’m not mistaken the cheer leaders sort of run themselves, and the people in charge are just old retired cheerleaders. They’re pretty evil to the girls.

    I think it’s time to get rid of them all together. They’re mistreated and a real football fan isn’t there to see them anyway.

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