NFL Cheerleaders Say They Experience Disturbing Groping and Harassment During Promotional Appearances
The whistleblowers say that most instances are fueled by alcohol.
National Football League cheerleaders are speaking out about harassment and groping that they claim they have been forced to endure while on the job.
Cheering at games is only part of the duties, the women say. They are also required to mingle with fans off the field at promotional events while wearing their skimpy uniforms.
Among these events are pregame tailgates, appearances in the stands and high rollers' parties.
Alcohol drinking by fans is a staple of such occasions, they say.
Bailey Davis, a former cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints, told Inside Edition she frequently heard offensive comments directed at her.
"Guys would walk by and say they want to do things to you," she said. "A lot of scary things go on behind the scenes that people don't like to talk about."
Cheerleaders are only paid minimum wage. Davis said she told her coach about the comments, in tears, and was told to "toughen up," she said. She filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after she says she was fired for posting a photo of herself in a bodysuit on her private Instagram account.
The team said: The Saints organization does not tolerate harassment of any kind. The Saints want all of its employees to be treated with dignity and respect by not only their co-workers, but also by the fans.
Team officials said she did not report being harassed during the eight months she worked as a cheerleader.
Davis' attorney, Sarah Blackwell, says cheerleading should be considered a sport and be protected from discrimination and bullying.
Some cheerleaders add that groping was so common that women have been instructed how to position their pom-poms to protect their bare stomachs.
In a statement the league said, "The NFL and all NFL member clubs support fair employment practices. Employees and associated of the NFL have the right to work in a positive and respectful environment that is free from any and all forms of harassment."
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