Two former NFL cheerleaders who have filed suit against the league have proposed a settlement solution: $1 plus a good-faith meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Former New Orleans Saints cheerleader Bailey Davis and former Miami Dolphins cheerleader Kristan Ware requested the meeting with Goodell as a way of highlighting and addressing teams’ employment practices. The $1 proposal also includes a caveat forbidding teams from disbanding their cheerleading squads in a retaliatory move for five years.
Davis and Ware are among many cheerleaders who have challenged the NFL and teams on treatment of cheerleaders, with complaints including sexual harassment, low pay, long hours (many of which are unpaid) and excessive social media demands. Davis and Ware have asked the league to respond by May 4.
“We want the opportunity for change,” Sara Blackwell, attorney for the two cheerleaders, told the New York Times. “We’re not asking [the league] to admit fault, or to admit guilt, or even admit that there is anything wrong. But if they do want and expect that cheerleaders should have a fair working environment, as they have stated, then it doesn’t make any common sense why the answer would be no.”
The NFL has released its own statement on the issue: “The NFL and all NFL member clubs support fair employment practices. Everyone who works in the NFL, including cheerleaders, has the right to work in a positive and respectful environment that is free from any and all forms of harassment and discrimination and fully complies with state and federal laws. Our office will work with our clubs in sharing best practices and employment-related processes that will support club cheerleading squads within an appropriate and supportive workplace.”
Davis was fired from the Saintsations after posting a photo on Instagram. Ware, a cheerleader with Miami for three seasons, has charged that she was discriminated against because of her religion and gender. Two other as-yet-unnamed cheerleaders from different teams would attend the meeting with Goodell if granted.
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