Even more sexual harassment and mistreatment allegations have hit the Washington Football Team, months after a report from The Washington Post broke the dam in July.
The focus is again on the team’s treatment of its cheerleaders. Previous reports have detailed how the group have allegedly faced abuse and unwanted advances, been used as props for team events and unknowingly had semi-nude outtakes turned into some kind of video for team owner Dan Snyder.
Between the Post’s original and follow-up reports, the number of women alleging some kind of harassment, abuse or exploitation by the team is well into the double digits.
The latest WaPo report has added yet another few allegations to the pile.
‘I’ll f---ing kill you’
Even as Snyder claims to be unaware, or at least apologetic, of the culture below him in his decades of owning the team, these reports paint a different story.
Donald Wells, the director of the Washington cheerleading squad from 1997 to 2009, recalled one such instance to the Post, in which Snyder allegedly said the following:
“You better keep them skinny with big t--s or I’ll f---ing kill you,” Wells said Snyder told him at a 2004 charity event where the squad performed.
It’s hardly surprising to see Snyder allegedly have that kind of attitude given what we know about the cheerleaders’ treatment.
The lewd video was particularly troubling given a strict moral code the team reportedly imposed on them that forbade appearances in “tasteless” videos or dating players. One cheerleader who appeared in the video, Chastity Evans, had one specific term for it:
“I would have hoped the team, because they held us to these high standards, would treat us with respect and uphold the same standards. Instead they violated our trust with what sounds like a soft porn video,” said Chastity Evans.
Washington cheerleaders say pay deducted for unsold calendars
Another way the team allegedly showed the cheerleaders just how little it valued their work was how it sold some of its calendars, the photo shoots for which are already infamous due to the aforementioned video.
Per the Post, the team explicitly required cheerleaders to sell at least 50 calendars a year, though the report notes that this is not unusual practice in the NFL. If the cheerleaders didn’t meet their quota, they reportedly had to pay the team back for the unsold calendars.
One cheerleader told the Post she lost hundreds of dollars in unsold calendars out of her paycheck. She was reportedly earning about $1,000 per year from the team.
Cheerleaders also complained of being given limited parking spots during games and having to carpool, while Snyder and his inner circle used their practice studio as a parking area before being shuttled to FedEx Field:
“You weren’t even valued enough to park your own car to do your job,” said one former cheerleader, who like many of her teammates spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions. “We did it because dance was our passion and this was a rare opportunity as adults to keep dancing and performing. The money wasn’t the goal. But looking back on it, it kind of cheapens the whole thing.”
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