NFL under fire after cheerleader comes forward with what really happens behind closed doors


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As a cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints for three years, Bailey Davis performed on the sideline during every game in a revealing outfit.

But when Davis posted a picture of herself in a one-piece bathing suit to her private Instagram account, the team fired her, according to a report Sunday in The New York Times.

The Saints said the relatively modest photo, seen below, violated rules that prohibit the team’s cheerleaders from “appearing nude, seminude or in lingerie,” The Times reported.

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This despite the fact that the cheerleaders, called the Saintsations, appear in more revealing swimsuit photos on the team’s website.

The team also accused Davis of attending a party with Saints players, which she denies. That too would be a rule violation.

Now she has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming the Saints have different sets of rules for their male and female employees.

According to The Times, the team’s anti-fraternization policy puts strict restrictions on cheerleaders that don’t apply to players.

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The cheerleaders are required to avoid contact with players, in person or online. They’re ordered to check their social media accounts and block any player who might follow them.

“Cheerleaders are told not to dine in the same restaurant as players, or speak to them in any detail,” The Times reported. “If a Saints cheerleader enters a restaurant and a player is already there, she must leave. If a cheerleader is in a restaurant and a player arrives afterward, she must leave.”

The rules were put in place to protect cheerleaders from being preyed upon by players, according to the team. But it’s the cheerleaders, not the players, who are required to go out of their way to avoid contact.

“If the cheerleaders can’t contact the players, then the players shouldn’t be able to contact the cheerleaders,” Davis’s lawyer, Sara Blackwell, told The Times. “The antiquated stereotype of women needing to hide for their own protection is not permitted in America and certainly not in the workplace.”

In her complaint, Davis argues that because she and other cheerleaders qualify as “NFL personnel,” the league’s personal conduct policy should apply to them. It prohibits “any forms of unlawful discrimination in employment” based on an individual’s sex, “regardless of whether it occurs in the workplace or in other NFL-sponsored settings.”

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Davis says she’s fighting so that cheerleaders across the league will be treated better.

“I’m doing this for them so they can do what they love and feel protected and empowered, and be a female athlete and not be pushed to the side and feeling unimportant,” she said.

The NFL declined to comment on Davis’ complaint.

The team didn’t address the specifics of the case but denied Davis had faced gender discrimination.

“The Saints organization strives to treat all employees fairly, including Ms. Davis,” Leslie Lanusse, a lawyer representing the Saints, told The Times in an email. “At the appropriate time and in the appropriate forum, the Saints will defend the organization’s policies and workplace rules.

“For now, it is sufficient to say that Ms. Davis was not subjected to discrimination because of her gender.”

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Todd Windsor is a senior story editor at The Western Journal. He has worked as an editor or reporter in news and sports for more than 30 years.
Todd Windsor is a senior story editor at The Western Journal. He was born in Baltimore and grew up in Maryland. He graduated from the University of Miami (he dreams of wearing the turnover chain) and has worked as an editor and reporter in news and sports for more than 30 years. Todd started at The Miami News (defunct) and went on to work at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., the St. Petersburg (now Tampa Bay) Times, The Baltimore Sun and Space News before joining Liftable Media in 2016. He and his beautiful wife have two amazing daughters and a very old Beagle.
Bachelor of Science from the University of Miami
Phoenix, Arizona
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