Two former cheerleaders who have filed discrimination claims against the NFL are willing to settle for $1 and a four-hour ‘good faith’ meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell and league lawyers.
The proposal, which was sent to the NFL on Tuesday, requested that a group of four cheerleaders meet with the league brass to ‘prepare a set of binding rules and regulations which apply to all NFL teams,’ according to The New York Times.
Furthermore, the proposal would prevent teams that currently have cheerleading squads from disbanding them as a form of retaliation against cheerleaders who have raised issues in the workplace, including gender discrimination.
Former Saints cheerleader Bailey Davis (left) was fired for socializing with players – a charge she denies – and for posting a picture of herself in lingerie on Instagram
Former Dolphins cheerleader Kristan Wade (right) claims she was discriminated against by the team because of her gender and religion. She and Davis hope to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (left) to ‘prepare a set of binding rules’ for teams and cheerleaders
The letter was written by Sara Blackwell, a Florida lawyer who represents former Dolphins cheerleader Kristan Wade and former Saints cheerleader Bailey Davis in their discrimination suits against the league.
‘We’re not asking them to admit fault, or to admit guilt, or even admit that there is anything wrong,’ Ms. Blackwell said in a phone interview. ‘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.’
In recent months, dozens of former and current cheerleaders have accused the NFL of knowingly subjecting them to sexual harassment from fans, strict rules about their weight and appearance, and extremely low pay – grievances that are not shared by NFL players or other team employees.
Davis, for instance, was fired for socializing with Saints players – a charge she denies – and for posting a photograph of herself in lingerie on Instagram.
‘It was a full-body shot because I wanted to show off my physique, my athleticism. I liked that you could see a little bit of bicep,’ she told Cosmopolitan. ‘As far as baring skin, it wasn’t any different from our Saintsation uniforms.’
Saints cheerleaders are not allowed to interact with players, they must keep their Instagram accounts private, and they absolutely cannot post photos of themselves in uniform
Saints forced to sell squad calendars directly to fans on game days. Bailey Davis (left) claimed that she asked her boyfriend and father to buy some of the calendars because cheerleaders were kept off the field until they had unloaded their allotment. She’s represented by Sarah Blackwell (right), who proposed the $1 settlement and meeting with the NFL
Saints cheerleaders, like many around the NFL, are not allowed to interact with players, they must keep their Instagram accounts private, they can’t post photos of themselves in uniform, and they’re forced to sell squad calendars directly to fans on game days.
Davis even claimed that she asked her boyfriend and father to buy some of the calendars because cheerleaders were kept off the field until they had unloaded their allotment.
‘You walk by a guy and you’re afraid you’re going to get touched,’ Davis told The New York Times. ‘Who would throw professional cheerleaders, walking around with cash, out with drunk fans?’
Wade, meanwhile, filed a complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations after she was allegedly discriminated against because of her gender and religion.
Bailey Davis appearing on Megyn Kelly’s daytime talk show
The suit claims Ware faced hostility from the Dolphins cheerleader coaching staff over her virginity during an end-of-the year meeting.
The events leading up to Ware quitting the team started on a bus ride in London in 2015 where she told her teammates she was a virgin after they were talking about what songs they listened to while having sex.
She explained to her teammates that she had no intention of having sex with anyone until she was married because of her religious beliefs.
The cheerleader felt like nothing was wrong with the conversation until she met with coaches during her end-of-the-year meeting in April 2016.
The coaches allegedly told her she needed to stop discussing her virginity around the team, but Ware claims she only brought it up when she was asked.
‘It was like a bus hit me,’ Ware told the Washington Post. ‘I was completely speechless. All that formed on my face were tears.’
The NFL responded to the proposed settlement with a written statement.
‘The NFL and all NFL member clubs support fair employment practices,’ the league’s statement said. ‘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.’
Blackwell is asking for a more definitive response by May 4.