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Ex-NFL Cheerleaders Consider Dropping Their Discrimination Lawsuits for $1
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Kristan Ware. Photo courtesy of NBC News.

Summary: Ex-NFL cheerleaders are offering to drop their discrimination lawsuits for $1. 

Two former professional cheerleaders said that they were harassed by fans and not paid properly, but that they would drop their lawsuits against the NFL if the league commissioner would agree to a meeting.

  
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“This was never about money for me,” Kristan Ware told ABC News. “This is about having respect for our sport and standing up for our sport and standing up for women.”

Ware, a former Miami Dolphins cheerleader, and Bailey Davis, who cheerleaded for the New Orleans Saints, sued the NFL for discrimination, but they stated this week that they would settle if the league lawyers and commissioner Roger Goodell would meet with them to address a series of concerns. These complaints include: low pay, harassment from fans, long hours, and strict conduct rules.

Cheerleaders may dazzle fans, but they are in no way compensated the way football players are. However, the women are given numerous conduct rules that govern everything from their weight to how they conduct themselves on social media.

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Ware said that she was discriminated against because of her Christianity. On social media, she often posted about her faith, and she said that she was made fun of for being a virgin.

Ware was a Dolphins cheerleader starting in 2014, and she worked for three seasons but quit in the spring of 2017 because she felt she was not accepted by the team because of her Christian values.



Ware and Davis are represented by attorney Sara Blackwell who told ABC News that it was a risk to drop the lawsuit in exchange for only a meeting.

“They could ignore us or listen to us and then do nothing and I understand that risk,” said Blackwell. “But I hope they have a real legitimate discussion with us because I feel like we are on the same side.”

In early April, the Dolphins responded to Ware’s complaint and said, “We are seriously committed to providing a positive work environment for everyone associated with the organization. We hold every member of our organization to the same standards and do not discriminate as it relates to gender, race and religious beliefs.”

Davis said that she was also discriminated against for her sexuality but on the opposite spectrum. In January of this year, she posted on Instagram a revealing picture of herself wearing a bodysuit, and she was fired by the team for violating a social media rule. Davis filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, saying that men in the NFL are not subjected to the same types of social media restrictions as the cheerleaders.

“The players can post whatever they want on social media…they can post shirtless and in the gym,” Davis told ABC News. “We can’t post in lingerie or a semi-nude and it’s discriminating because for women to do that, it’s seen as something sexual, but when a guy does it it’s seen as athletic.”

The New Orleans Saints said that they were not discriminating against Davis.

“The New Orleans Saints is an equal opportunity employer, and denies that Ms. Davis was discriminated against because she is female,” the NFL organization told ABC News. “The Saints will defend these allegations in due course and in the appropriate forum, and the Organization is confident that its policies and workplace rules will withstand legal scrutiny.”

The NFL has until May 4 to accept the deal from Ware and Davis. If they do not, the case could move forward to trial.

What do you think about these cheerleader lawsuits? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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