Neither the Bills nor the NFL had anything to say about a lawsuit recently filed against the team and others by former members of the Buffalo Jills, the official cheerleading squad of the football team.
The Bills have now responded to the lawsuit by filing a motion to dismiss, and the team has issued a statement calling attention to the development.
“Buffalo Bills fans have long appreciated the Buffalo Jills cheerleaders as a part of the game day entertainment,” the team said. “Additionally, our organization recognizes the significant contribution that members of the Buffalo Jills have played in supporting many charitable organizations in our community. As part of running a professional football team, the Bills organization retains a number of third-party vendors to provide ancillary services on game days. These services include, among others, parking services, concessionaire services and cheerleading services. For decades the Buffalo Jills trademark has been licensed to independent third parties who have assumed the responsibility for the selection, management, training, scheduling and compensation of the cheerleaders. We are aware of public statements and allegations that have surfaced since the start of the recent litigation which attempt to give the impression that our organization employs cheerleaders. Such statements are inaccurate and misleading. Today we responded to these allegations as part of the legal process and remain confident in our position in this matter.”
In English, this means that the Bills hope to avoid potential liability by claiming that they have no responsibility for the cheerleaders, and that in turn the Bills have no responsibility for any potential violations of the law committed against the cheerleaders.
The Jills who filed suit alleged multiple wage violations, including failure to compensate the cheerleaders at the minimum hourly wages for all time spent working.
The Jills indefinitely suspended operation in the wake of the lawsuit, which suggests that whoever is managing the Jills realizes that there could be a problem with the way the squad had been managed.