More than 30 former Washington cheerleaders could be filing suit

Getty Images

The report that a former Washington Football Team executive ordered the making more than a decade ago of secret outtakes from cheerleader videos has increased the negative narratives around the team. It also inevitably will result in litigation.

Via the Washington Post, attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz represents 12 former Washington cheerleaders. Gloria Allred represents another 20 former Washington cheerleaders.

Per the latest Post report, the franchise has agreed to let the lawyers conduct an independent forensic investigation aimed at securing copies of the videos, created in 2008 and 2010, along with any other unauthorized cheerleader videos that may be residing on the team’s computer system.

“My clients worked hard and proudly cheered for the Washington Football Team and in return were exploited and humiliated,” Banks told the Post. “We are exploring all legal options to hold accountable those who are responsible, to protect my clients from further harm, and to effect positive change for all women who continue to work with the team.”

In situations like this, the legal system allows the former cheerleaders to be compensated for the invasion of their privacy, and for any emotional harm caused by the violation of their rights. It also provides for potential punitive damages, extra payment over and above compensation aimed at punishing the wrongdoer and deterring others from engaging in similar behavior.

Other problems with the organization likely will come to light in the litigation, including stringent behavioral rules that applied to cheerleaders but not to players. If cheerleaders dated players, for example, the cheerleaders got in trouble — the players did not.

Then there’s this. The new report in the Post has an on-the-record quote from Donald Wells, who served as director of the team’s cheerleaders from 1997 to 2009. He claims that, in 2004, owner Daniel Snyder said to Wells of the team’s cheerleaders: “You better keep them skinny with big t-ts or I’ll f–king kill you.”

Well also has shared that story with Banks. Undoubtedly, Banks eventually will be sharing it with a jury.