Throughout the NFL offseason, there have been a few grievances and claims brought by former cheerleaders. The first, and biggest, was when a former-Redskins cheerleader claimed she was forced to pose topless in front team sponsors and season ticket holders; she also alleged she was forced to escort men to a nightclub. Since then, the ‘team is looking into the allegations’ and former cheerleaders from the same time period contradicted these claims. Nothing has come from it.
There have also been allegations from a former Texans’ cheerleader that have actually resulted in legal action. In fact, there have been two lawsuits filed against the Texans. One was filed last month by three former cheerleaders against the Texans for not paying minimum wage. The newest lawsuit has that and more, as summed up by the CBS Evening news:
Five former NFL cheerleaders sued the Houston Texans on Friday, alleging the team failed to fully compensate them as required by law and subjected them to a hostile work environment in which they were harassed, intimidated and forced to live in fear. The lawsuit, filed in Houston federal court, accuses the franchise of paying the women less than the $7.25 per hour they were promised, not compensating them for making public appearances or performing other tasks related to their jobs and creating a workplace where the women were threatened with being fired for voicing any complaints.
Cheerleading is the unpaid internship of the NFL. They underpay and overwork women who take the job as a fun thing to do, a chance to pick up more Instagram followers and a launching point for other opportunities. If cheerleading is going to stay around, which it probably will, I think the women who take on this job should be paid more than minimum wage. They should become actual employees and not be subjugated to this type of harassment. For the Houston Texans, this is yet another league-wide non-football related issue they are apart of.