NFL cheerleading a rah deal

This is my Tuesday column.

The NFL treats cheerleaders like indentured servants. Geishas come to mind, Japanese hostesses who danced and sang for rich samurai soldiers.

Cheerleaders currently are suing five NFL teams – the Bengals, the Bills, the Buccaneers, the Jets and the Raiders. HBO is airing a 15-minute documentary about the lawsuit tonight.

If you don’t subscribe to HBO, this is what you will miss:

NFL teams pay cheerleaders $125 per home game. That’s it. They don’t get paid for anything else. And they have to pay for their uniforms and for their own expenses. After expenses, the cheerleaders earn about $2 an hour.

NFL mascots earn between $35,000 and $65,000 a season.

Cheerleaders have to attend mandatory unpaid events, like golf parties for the team executives. The cheerleaders pose for pictures with men, sit on men’s laps, do back flips for tips they don’t get to keep and get dunked into water tanks.

Cheerleaders have to do “jiggle tests.” They do 10 jumping jacks, and they can’t perform if any part of their body jiggles in their uniform.

Starting next season, fans at certain stadiums will be able to instruct cheerleaders via text message to come up to their section of the stands.

Free geishas for everybody!

Why don’t NFL cheerleaders just quit? During the HBO documentary, Andrea Kremer asked that question to Maria, a former Buffalo Bills cheerleader. They’re called “Buffalo Jills.” Seriously.

Maria said, “For the love of cheering.”

Cheerleaders consider themselves dancers, a noble profession. But there also is an element of narcissism in cheerleading that Maria didn’t talk about and Kremer didn’t ask about. Cheerleaders get validation for being pretty. They get to stand on the field. They get to be around famous athletes and wealthy executives. Quite the allure.

The NFL understands that and is working that angle to exploit young women.

At one point during the documentary, Kremer asked the former manager of the Buffalo Jills, Stephanie Mateczun, why the cheerleaders must endure such demeaning conditions.

“They are told right up front what is expected of them,” said Mateczun. “If you think it’s going to be too much, then you don’t have to do it.”

In other words, go ahead and quit. Someone else will replace you – that’s the threat. We pay and treat cheerleaders the way we do because so many young women accept it. That’s just reality.

So, no whining, ladies. So says rule No.14 of the Buffalo Jills handbook. I’m not making that up.

The NFL doesn’t have Mateczun’s courage to speak the truth. The NFL, the Bills and the Raiders did not accept interview requests from HBO. When I asked the Raiders for an official statement on the lawsuit, a Raiders’ media relations representative informed me that they do not have a comment at this time.

It is shameful that these teams and the league have nothing to say about the cheerleaders’ lawsuit. They can do better than to hide behind “No comment.”

NFL teams earn too much money to cut corners and pay cheerleaders so little. If teams can pay the mascots and the cotton-candy vendors, they can pay the cheerleaders at least minimum wage.

The NFL should promote cheerleaders the way the NFL promotes its violent sport. The NFL encourages parents to let their boys play football despite the violence by saying that football develops discipline and teamwork.

The NFL should be able to say things like that for cheerleaders, too. Something like, “We are proud to be able to give not only young men, but also young women the opportunity to earn a living. Cheerleading is a skilled profession we value and respect. Fathers, your daughter should strive to be an NFL cheerleader. She’ll be in a professional work environment and she will learn life skills that will set her up to have a successful future.”

Instead, the NFL treats cheerleading like an internship that leads to nothing, except maybe the promise of marriage. You could land an athlete!

Unseemly and unfair.

Until something changes, would you want your daughter to be a cheerleader in the NFL? I wouldn’t.

And if I were a woman, I’d rather be a stripper than an NFL cheerleader. At least strippers earn money and get to keep their tips.

Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for The Press Democrat’s website. You can reach him at grantcohn@gmail.com.

  1. Grant, I was basically with you all the way until the last two sentences. While those two sentences are technically true, they come off as insulting to the feminine persuasion and give the reader an unprofessional and poor mental image. The “shock value” of the two sentence conclusion is too much shock, and not enough value IMO.

      1. Grant,
        The information you provided was definitely eye opening. I wasn’t even aware of the conditions that these cheerleaders have to work under. “Jiggle tests”, $125 per home game, really? You’re right, the NFL should be ashamed of themselves. It was a good read. Nice job.

      2. Basketball has cheerleaders too, is it the same for them? And there are more games, and they’re indoors. It has to suck to be a cheerleader for the Bills. I mean you’re in Buffalo for crying out loud. And it’s cold.
        What are the conditions like for the iconic cheerleaders, the Cowgirls?

      3. I think you should have mentioned how these women should be curing cancer and creating rockets and performing brain surgery. All I got from this article is that you want them to be strippers.

      4. Grant,

        Very seldom do I agree with anything you have to post. But this issue I completely agree with you.

        Are we living back in the 60’s where the NFL Owners are part of the cast of Mad Men?

        It’s a Ridiculous situation with the Cheerleaders. The NFL should be embarrassed with themselves, there should be a Standard of Compensation for EVERY Team. Pay the women a reasonable compensation, Dear Lord!

      5. Aduroson it’s worth noting that the sentences you dislike are from Grant’s personal frame of reference. He didn’t say, “It is better to be. . . ” which anyone can dispute. He said, “If I were. . . I’d rather be.” If more people told how it is for them and quite pretending that their feelings were universal reality, we’d have far fewer needless arguments. (Personally, I’d rather be neither one. I’d get rotten eggs and tomatoes and people yelling “put it back on.”)

  2. “And if I were a woman, I’d rather be a stripper than an NFL cheerleader. At least strippers earn money and get to keep their tips.”

    Which would make you smarter than the average cheerleader. They’re basically the same thing. The difference is that cheerleaders are looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow whereas strippers aren’t looking past the wallet in front of them. They both use their body and looks to their advantage. Strippers are more upfront with their intentions while cheerleaders tend to delude themselves into thinking people care about their biography. If there wasn’t a substantial intangible benefit provided to these women, they wouldn’t be cheerleading, just like strippers wouldn’t be stripping if there wasn’t a substantial tangible benefit provided to them.

    1. Whats the difference between them and athletes? They both use the aspects of their bodies that have gotten them positive feedback from society as a whole. Most adolescents main focus is on acceptance and any positive reinforcement they get in that respect establishes a behavioral pattern. Athletes and pretty girls get the attention and respect in high school so they want to continue to use that through out their lives. Most of us comment on this site because we value the athletic ability of the players in the NFL. Do we have a right to look down on anyone who values a different aspect of what constitutes a persons physic. Would be sort of hypocritical wouldn’t it?

  3. All of this is true on the surface, but what didn’t make the article is that there are actually paid events open for these cheerleaders to perform at. Those events bring the annual salary up considerably. Don’t forget that many of these performers springboard from cheerleading to modeling and work both at the same time. They also have scholarships and tuition reimbursement available.
    Now that the redskins can not trademark their logo, I suspect the redskin cheerleaders will be the highest paid group in the NFL.

  4. This shouldn’t even be an issue with what the teams make. Pay the girls properly already. What a freaking disgrace.

    1. The Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, and the Pittsburgh Steelers don’t have cheerleading squads, but all of them have “unofficial” cheerleading squads comprised of women that are not allowed to use the teams colors, logo or name. They can’t perform at games and can’t represent the team at events. They do this with the hope that the teams may eventually consider hiring them.
      They know NFL cheerleaders don’t make much, yet they still spend ridiculous amounts of their own time and money to form a squad that will never be recognized by the team or the league. I agree that this should be a non issue, but I also know that there are women that would pay to be a cheerleader for an NFL team because they are paying to be fake cheerleaders for NFL teams without squads. They aren’t victims.
      I don’t think the NFL would care one bit if all of the cheerleaders quit, they would still sell swimsuit calendars and make money. They could probably hold a nationwide, live draft for the selection process and make $$$. The cheerleaders would be the ones losing their connection to the game, which seems more valuable than a regular paycheck, according to their actions.

    2. Why not increase the minimun wage for the people working fast food?…..oh..err, never mind

      1. Jimmie,

        Raising the minimum wage for fast food servers sounds reasonable, however what many companies do, is decrease the amount of hours a person works, so what becomes a raise is actually a decrease in hours and salary or the same amount. That has happen to my son who is working part time at a retail establishment as he goes to college.

        1. It doesn’t matter if some give a second thought as to whether the cheerleaders should be on the sidelines. My personal view is that the NFL should remove such a female degrading job from their ‘entertainment’. That said, I also understand that there are women out there that enjoy this type of work and I believe that they should be paid fairly for it, especially for the various (which can include the humiliating) things they do.

  5. Give me a break. It’s called supply and demand. There are probably hundreds upon hundreds of qualified women who would do this for free, nevermind the pittance they are paid. These are adults who choose to subject themselves to this of their own free will.

    1. Free will is an illusion. Our choices are dictated and defined by our circumstances. Much as the illusion that we are presently operating in a economic free market that is dictated by supply and demand.

      1. That sounds real deep and all, but they choose to be cheerleaders. They choose to work for low wages because their love for the attention outweighs the monetary value. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t continue to do it. In the HR heavy world we live in, they should just get rid of them. You would continue to have unofficial squads that would practice on a nearly full time basis, just hoping the team or league would hire them for an event. They would continue to supply product to an industry with no demand for it. Why is that?

  6. I love hot cheeleaders that aren’t afraid to get sweaty for the team. Pay them handsomely…..

  7. Grant, I agree with your general point, but I find your ignorance of Japanese culture to to be deplorable. Why do you go on to take pot shots at the young women? Amazing.

    1. “ignorance of Japanese culture”
      Whaaaaaat?
      At least he didn’t invoke Godzilla or Mothra.
      ; >)

  8. At first I was upset, then I realized that 1) this is not their full-time job, 2) there are 5 million young ladies in America that would take this gig simply for the fun of it, and 3) if NFL teams dropped cheerleaders altogether, it would have ZERO consequence on Football Sunday’s. Sure some people would complain in the beginning, and women’s rights groups would make a huge fuss, but in the end nobody really cares.

    It’s a great storyline for the media and for documentaries. “Big machismo guys get paid like kings, while innocent young ladies get treated like slaves in the ruthless NFL.” The truth is that no one who cares about NFL football (or is in a healthy mental disposition) has EVER remembered a cheerleader’s name (unless they personally knew her).

    If you think it’s a demeaning job, don’t take it, and don’t let your daughters do it. Teacher them to value themselves above that and it will solve the problem. I have a daughter and I and her mother would never let her be a cheerleader and the NFL’s pay scale has nothing to do with it. But that’s our family’s values.

    Right now EVERYONE has a beef with the NFL and wants their “piece of the pie” because it’s the most popular sport in America and it’s making BILLION$. Hopefully the NFL wises up and cuts all things “fluff” and thus limit their liabilities to people who ultimately inconsequential to why we all love football or are even on this blog to begin with. Of course then people will complain about the NFL “refusing to hire people.” It’s the end of June, so I get the purpose of this post.

  9. Cheerleading in the NFL should not be viewed as a rite of passage. The NFL became America’s sporting passion because of its competitive and physical nature not because of its cheerleaders.

    There are many successful NFL teams that do quite well without the use of cheerleaders on the sidelines.
    The Packers, Steelers, NYGiants, just to name a few.

    In the early years of the NFL/AFL, some teams used marching bands as part of fan entertainment. It’s safe to say that the NFL has not been hurt by ending their use of a live band.

    Sure, the pay is meager. But I would venture to say that many of the participants do it for media attention and the hope bigger and better things that come with local and national exposure.

    Bottom line: The NFL would survive without cheerleaders.

    1. They could also survive without the concessions, and other things but they have become part of the big show. The teams that have Cheerleaders think they have value and use them in that respect. If you don’t think they are valuable then don’t have them at. But don’t underpay them.

      1. Willtalk
        What do you consider a fair pay scale for something that would not be missed if teams were to stop cheerleaders?

        Cheerleaders must be aware of the parameters and conditions of the job before taking it on.
        If they make more money I’m all for it, but if the teams decide they don’t need them I can live with that as well because it doesn’t effect the play on the field.

        1. What I said in my other post was if teams don’t consider them and asset or valuable then don’t have them. But the reality is that they do find them useful. The point is that they use them with out paying them a fair wage for their services just because they can. It’s not like paying them something that amounts to minimum wage would be cost ineffective. Volunteers are for agencies and organizations that can not afford to pay their people. As I have also stated there are various area’s of the NFL organization that are still operating on a Mom and Pop store level. The selection process for the Cheer squads are vigorous. If they were not that valuable to the organizations why even go through the process. They are acting like a lot of business who nickle and dime those that they can but put out big dollars for those of even less value that push them.

  10. And if I were a woman, I’d rather be a stripper than an NFL cheerleader. At least strippers earn money and get to keep their tips.
    ———————
    Helps pay for the therapy later in life. Interesting to know that you’d rather strip yourself of dignity and dance nude for strangers then do something you love for almost no money and respect…

    1. Cheerleaders dance 3/4 nude in front of strangers because they love dancing so much? Please, they are attention hounds. They were the same way in high school. They are instantly exposed to wealthy men and opportunities that are only afforded to them because of their looks and the fact that they are cheerleaders. They are selling their bodies in the same fashion as a stripper but aren’t making as much money. If they don’t want to do it, don’t do it. Nobody will care and nobody will miss them.

      1. NFL games much like other forms of entertainment have become large production numbers. There are many other people that are involved that are also not necessary but they get compensated for their efforts. As I stated before the NFL is not a charity that needs volunteers to survive. There are many things I personally could do with out that other people enjoy. I personally don’t need to watch cheerleaders either but I am not so egocentric to attempt to speak for other people and say no-one will miss them. You could find people to work for less than minimum wage as well but we don’t allow that sort of exploitation do we. The Cheer leaders are working for less than minimum wage and they are taking actions to correct the situation. If the teams don’t like it they can just not have them.

  11. Interesting article Grant.

    Likening a voluntary position to an indentured servant is exaggerating quite a bit though. Cheerleaders don’t have to do this line of work if they don’t want to. And they clearly aren’t in it for the money – they are doing this because they want to.

    What is wrong is the way NFL teams exploit the desire of these girls to be cheerleaders (in particular using them for promotional purposes that help generate revenues for the team without appropriate recompense) and marginalise women by testing the ‘jiggle’ of these girls (rampant discrimination) and having them partake in activities designed to capitalise on their attractiveness rather than talents.

    1. I agree with your final paragraph.

      I didn’t liken cheerleaders to indentured servants. I said that the NFL treats cheerleaders like indentured servants. It’s an issue of treatment. The NFL shouldn’t engage in business like this. It’s unseemly and unnecessary.

  12. I dated an ex niner cheerleader for a time so I have known about these shaddy job parameters and screening practices.
    Two disturbing side consequences of not paying them a livable wage is that some girls end up figuring out potentially unscrupulous ways of bringing home the bacon
    And the idea that these ladies essentially have to be well of or made already so the talent pool of applicants is severely thinned. There are plenty of beautiful bay area dancers who could keep up with the coregraphy or even much harder more entertaining stuff but won’t due to lack of liveable wage . it would be great if very talented dancers could put on a show during the many breaks during the many breaks at a football game. That would attract my attention a lot more than some cheerleaders doing some tired old routine. Sure there is some good cheerleading routines out there but alas for the most part they doing a look at me sexy dance that highlights little their dance skills.

  13. Never thought of myself as a boy-scout before, but I take no pride in being a part of this blog right now….totally demeaning

  14. Hi Grant Cohn,
    As Niner Gang says “The information you provided was definitely eye opening”. Today i came to know many positive and negative points of NFL cheerleader.

  15. Just because you are able to exploit someone does not mean you should. That puts one in the moral category with bandits. ” If God did not want them shorn he would not have made them sheep”- Magnificent 7. For the NFL to exploit cheerleaders just because the can is unconscionable, especially for the NFL who is definitely not hurting for cash.

    This sort of practice was understandable when the League first came into existence being that most of the operation was still mostly amateurish and a mom and pop type of organization. As a business get larger and more successful certain changes need to be made. One of those had to do with officiating. Instead of part time they should have full time officials. The are still ” Mom and Pop” in that respect as well.

    Now I am not suggesting that the Cheerleader squads fall in the same category as the officials- not even close. But in respect to the use that the league makes of them they are not only underpaid but exploited. They provide advertisement and promote the team in a lot of venues that are not reached otherwise. Are the of major importance to the team- absolutely not. But in the minor degree that they are they are worth more. No one should be paid less than minimum wage on principle alone. We are not taking about some small business that is barely making it but a mulit-billion dollar industry.

    Anyone who has ever watched the National Cheer leading Championships recognizes that these individuals are fantastic athletes who operate on a very high level of skill. The problem is that they ( like many other area’s of the arts) are not valued much by our culture and don’t find much of a demand professionally. Yes it’s supply and demand but what is forgotten is that the demand is created and manipulated by media brainwashing. Given enough media bombardment upon formative adolescent minds they could create a demand for watching people stick raw eggs up their rectums.

    Much was made of Sterling’s comments and everyone was so ready to jump on the moral high ground bandwagon. Amazing that people thought a persons flippant private off the wall comment was more morally reprehensible than his cut throat business practices. I personally don’t put as much value on something someone says as I do what they do in everyday practice. When we exploit and underpay for value ( no matter the justification-it’s business) we demean and label a person to a far greater extent than what our temporary speech is capable of doing.

    1. Willtalk
      You make some valid points. But I personally don’t believe it fits this case.

      These are not people forced to work in miserable sweatshop like conditions who need every penny to get by.

      There is no inhumane conditions here. These women can refuse the job and likely leave the job if they so desire.

      The $125.00 per game sounds meager, but are they making monies with ads, promos, and swim wear calendars?

      I would like to see if someone can provide a survey on how many former cheerleaders have faired in the real job market after retiring from cheerleading.

      It would not surprise me if retired cheerleaders have made a nice living due to the notoriety from their cheerleading days.

      Again, football could do quite well without cheerleaders.
      It’s safe to say that cheerleaders need football more than football needs them.

      1. Cheer leaders do need football more than football needs them. How ever the same could be said of many other people who provide services for pay. The fact that this is true is why it is easy to exploit those in need. Would you have the same attitude if it were some other group of workers that were under the same conditions.

        Our country is becoming a third world nation with an abundance of labor. What made this countries economic system successful was not the exploitation of cheap labor but providing opportunity for everyone through free enterprise. Those are the foundation of the middle class. Look at countries that do not have a strong middle class and you see countries that are economically deficient.

        The Cheer Leaders themselves are less important than the principle that their situation represents. If those rights ( minimum wage ) are not extended to everyone then they are worthless. Make an exception for those that have the ability to pay and it opens the door for more exceptions until the law means nothing.

  16. I always see the terms “Supply and Demand” thrown out in respect that they are supposed to be reflective of a free enterprise system. You also believe that Communism and Capitalism are opposites rather than just opposite sides of the same coin. In reality they use each other as “Strawmen” to promote their own agenda’s which ultimately lead to the destruction of real free enterprise and self determination. How soon will people wake up and recognize that Adam Smiths ” Invisible Hand’ is actually clenched in a fist and embedded in their rears.

    1. The demand for, and the supply of, food, water and (to a lesser extent) shelter are the forces that drive all economic systems. Even the idealized free market is a political construct abstracted away from these realities. How soon will people wake up and recognize that the only things that differentiate economic systems are the degrees to which the base realities of human existence are abstracted by political/societal forces.

      1. I am in agreement. You stated that very well. But people will remain clueless. When we get into the area’s of services, of which entertainment is one, that is the area where it is much easier to manipulate and control demand by creating synthetic value via advertising and propaganda. Where as in the area of necessities it is done through controlling the Supply.

          1. I’ve been suggesting since last season that Brook’s days are numbered because of his contract. I remember taking quite a bit of flak for the suggestion at the time as well. Our front 7 is expensive and not getting cheaper, eventually popular names will have to be let loose and Brooks will probably be one of if not the first to go.

            1. I thought your prediction was for this year, but I fully expect that next year he may very well be moving on…

  17. I have been following this story for a while now, having written a piece for Bleacher Reports, (which they squelched as too ‘political’) during the last NFL season. Mother Jones did a fine piece on it.
    My personal problem is that, as a union member myself, this entire issue reeks to high heaven of exploitation and near slavery akin to that of the free labor movement that includes interns, volunteers and, for aspiring writers, Bleacher Reports and Huffington, who also do not pay their workers.
    And I must admit the most insulting statement the free marketers use often is the one about, “They choose to do it. If they don’t like it they can quit.” Except they can’t, without getting a bad mark on their record.
    If people work for you, pay them. Otherwise you are a thief of their time and effort, and should be publicly shamed.

    1. Or don’t do it in the first place. Only parents and perverts are interested in cheerleaders. Besides the mandatory ‘entertaining’ for execs, which is NOT cool, $125 a game sounds fine to me. That being said, the NFL is a cheapskate bully in many respects.

      As some have said, they present themselves as objects, they will get treated like objects. I’m all for human rights but, they KNOW the deal before they sign on the dotted line. It’s NOT slavery because these girls have a CHOICE.

      1. So everything that is not slavery is alright and justifiable? Everyone has a choice when they sign contracts but there are still laws that dictate what criteria that contacts need to conform too. The Cheer leaders salary violates the mimimum wage criteria. Much as the tips loop hole was invalided by the courts in respect to waitresses.

        1. It’s very damn simple. If you as a person feel you are being mistreated for something you voluntarily signed up for who’s fault is it when you simply don’t quit doing it?

          What is forcing these girls to continue to cheer if the conditions are so bad? Just stop doing it…

          1. We’re not talking about a job where she is locked into continue doing it because she needs the income. This isn’t something she’s forced to do meaning she doesn’t have the choice to stop. This is a hobby, something that they do in their spare time. They either have part or full time jobs on the side or husbands that support them. There is absolutely no reason for these girls to do this if they don’t like they way they are being treated while doing it. The teams are not doing anything illegal so if a woman voluntarily signs up and then doesn’t like how it’s run she should just walk away.

            If she doesn’t she only has herself to blame. Crying about it something you can EASILY walk away from doesn’t hold much water in my book.

    2. Please don’t include those of us who volunteer to aid in hospitals, work in disaster relief, provide assistance to feed the hungry, brave wildfires as firefighters, help build homes to provide shelter for the poor, etc. with you aspiring writers at Bleacher Report and Huffington that work for free. We are humanitarians with a totally different agenda than getting your name out there as a writer. Sure, sometimes we are asked to do things that seem “above and beyond” but our reward goes in into a different kind of checking account — and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

  18. Considering it’s their weakest position, I don’t think the Niners can afford to cut corners to pay their cheerleaders more. At least this year.

  19. The NFL is a titanic money machine and certainly could spare a few more crumbs for the Cheerleaders. They are not crucial to the event, but TV, the source of all those dollars, is about imagery. Pretty women dancing sexily is a compelling image, especially for the main demographic of the audience; so, TV likes the Cheerleaders. There’s enough money, they could pay better for the games and should pay these gals for every required public appearance, imo.
    Should the Cheerleaders be permanent employees? I think there’s less of a case for that.
    I think a fair analogy is amateur dancers, musicians, or actors. They have regular jobs, but work with local theater groups or the Renaissance Faire. In my town we’ve got some fellows who have other jobs but play jazz for free on Sundays by the river promenade. A friend’s 40-year old gf can’t make a living dancing, but does some for pay and some for free (jazz & modern) and does some part-time retail work to pursue her dream. She freaking loves to dance. Should we patronize or belittle these women who like the attention, the excitement, the ‘glamor’? They like to dance or they like to perform and/or they like to be noticed. Does your lady like to dress up and step out with you and be noticed? Mine does.
    NFL Cheer isn’t like competitive Cheer. The youth, HS and college Cheer competitors have a more athletic and gymnastic style (and heavy injury rate). Being TV-driven, NFL Cheerleaders focus on sexy dancing and T&A, and it seems that people notice.

    1. Oh, no! Don’t tell me Eli Wallach has died! The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is my all-time favorite Western – and Wallach was absolutely brilliant as Tuco. Bet more than just a few folks cherish memorable lines from that movie – not to mention memorable play and film performances throughout Wallach’s career. An early association with Tennesee Williams resulted in some great, great work. R.I.P., indeed!

  20. $125 per game, I don’t believe it. I actually read an article on their duties and responsibilities. They work damned hard. They practice a lot, do community work and appearances and maintain a full time job.That doesn’t leave much time to pursue football players.

    You know as a woman I find the whole art of cheer leading disgusting. I believe in equal opportunity and if it’s going to continue I want to see half the squad men in skimpy little shorts with their 6-packs and bulging muscles. I bet you’d get over your fantasies quite soon.

    All that being said, I might agree with Grant, become a stripper — they make a boatload of money. As long as you stay away from drugs and prostitution you might be able to tolerate all the other crap. Better yet get a good college education. Become a medical doctor, pharmacist (I have two in my family — great money). You’re opportunities are limitless.

  21. I’m on the cheerleaders side on this one. Pay em.

    I imagine a few cheerleaders can parlay the gig into other opportunities. Still, the teams should fork over a little more scratch, especially when you factor in all the training time cheerleaders do.

    If players had “jiggle tests” about 5 current 49ers wouldn’t have a chance. Seriously, its not a dignified way to do business. A good way to combine hotness with class are the Podium Women in the Tour De France.

  22. Just curious, how many players would endure the same working conditions and pay for the opportunity to play a game before 60,000 fans in the stands and possibly millions more or TV? I think in my much younger days I might have.

  23. I never knew this. Pretty pathetic. But these young women don’t have a gun to their head and the job appears to be in high demand. If it were not, the teams would have to make the pay more attractive. That’s just how it works. I don’t see this as a social issue. Want a social issue? How about the homeless or American jobs going to cheaper, foreign workers? There is a long list, unfortunately, but cheerleaders being treated “like indentured servants”? Come on now.

    1. None of the people clammering for low wage jobs have a gun to their head either, but there is still a minimum wage even though they could get people to work for less. The American jobs that are going to cheaper foreign workers are caused by the same principles at work in this issue. Getting people to work for less because you have leverage and can. What is wrong with letting our actions be dictated by what is fair and not just what we can get away with. You can not solve a problem by fixing the effects. You need to recognize and fix the causes. The cause for the issue and the lack of jobs in the USA today is one in the same.

  24. Grant
    While I agre with the overall tone of the post I have 1 question: Minimum wage??? They get paid $125 for a 3 or 4 hour game or lets say there is 5 overtimes its still 6 hours worth of work for 125$ thats more than $20 an hour . Low ? yes but far higher that the $8.50 minimum wage

    1. Did you just skip over the part about the large number of required hours at zero pay, or that they have to pay for their 49er costumes?

  25. I love eye candy as much as the next guy…but if cheerleaders suddenly disappeared from the sideline, I wouldn’t give it a second thought.
    .
    The action that takes place within the confines of the gridiron is the only action I care about.
    .
    .
    .
    *ALOHA*

    1. I disagree with Dahl and Snyder. Dahl is only costing us 1.2M and is valuable depth behind Reid who is one big hit away from missing a game or two with a concussion. Snyder might be an expensive back up but 1.3M isn’t breaking the bank and he can step in at most any position, he’s a veteran with a ton of experience with the team and we still don’t know what’s going to happen with Boone.

      Except for JJ I cut the rest with my initial 53 projection. I’ve since replace Johnson with Gabbert.

  26. Wonder why there isn’t a union either trying to represent them or forming to do so?

      1. Weee, now we can have cheerleader lock outs, I bet the ‘scabs’ wont quite pass the “jiggle test.”

        1. They wont need to sit out games. They are taking it to court claiming that the NFL teams that employ them are violating minimum wage laws. There are a lot of services that I don’t use or have a need for but that doesn’t mean I would deny them minimum wage. Come on people they don’t want a lot of money just something that averages out to minimum wage.

          1. A lock out is when the team prevents them from entering the building or in this case would prevent them from entering the stadium to cheer. If they unionize the teams can lock them out and bring in “scabs” to cheer at the same level of compensation that the now unionized girls were doing it for. If the teams are able to field cheer teams again with the scabs the unionized girls will have no leverage to bargain with.

  27. Over the last two decades, cheerleading as a whole has become an increasingly athletic pursuit, and indeed debates over whether it is a sport in its own right are taking place on high school and college campuses across the country. One recent study in the journal Pediatrics found that cheerleading is the most dangerous sport for young girls and rivals football in its high risk for concussions and other injuries.

    -Christopher Zara
    International Business Times
    January 25, 2014

    1. “One recent study in the journal Pediatrics found that cheerleading is the most dangerous sport for young girls and rivals football in its high risk for concussions and other injuries.”

      I’d love to read that study, I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts that it’s full of gross conclusions and poor scientific controls.

  28. Mid,
    No debating the report you provided, but the NFL cheerleader is a completely different breed from the high school and to some extent the college level.

    The NFL cheerleader is more about choreography precision dancing vs the high jumping and high lifts we see in regular cheerleading.

    The way I see it, these girls are likely burgeoning models (yes, they are athletic) looking for a future in the media.

    1. One false move during that dancing and they could be out for a while, if not indefinitely AES.
      It doesn’t matter if the girls are looking for a future in the media or putting back money in order to earn a degree. Unless they are volunteering, the girls still need to be paid for what they do.

      1. Mid,
        They are being paid. They are receiving what they agreed on.

        If they want more maybe they should take VD’s stance and threaten to sit out (lol).
        I for one won’t miss them.

        I turn on the game to watch my team – everything else is fluff.

    2. Dancing is also part of competitive cheer leading squads. Just watch the National competitions sometime. The Cheerleaders as the NFL uses them are more like Dance teams which also requires a high degree of athleticism. You get out and do the numbers they do and see if you don’t fall out. They are highly skilled. There just aren’t that many openings for dancers so the competition is fierce. There are people who just love to dance and jump at the opportunity to do so. Also unless you are doing ball room dancing and even then the out fits for dancing are very scimpy. Look at what ice skaters wear. Are they fluanting their sexuality?

  29. Aaahh Freak out!
    “The Freak”, C’est Chic
    Freak out!
    Aaahh Freak out!
    “The Freak”, C’est Chic
    Freak out!
    Aaahh Freak out!
    “The Freak”, C’est Chic
    Freak out!
    Aaahh Freak out!
    “The Freak”, C’est Chic
    Freak out!…….
    Have you heard about the new dance craze?
    Listen to us, I’m sure you’ll be amazed
    Big fun to be had by everyone
    It’s up to you, It surely can be done
    Young and old are doing it, I’m told
    Just one try, and you too will be sold
    It’s called “The Freak!” They’re doing it night and day
    Allow us, we’ll show you the way…….Aaahh Freak out!

    Congrats on no hitter Freak!!!
    …….Oh……VD – Report to equipment room to get your swollen head sized for your helmet.

    1. Crab15
      I love me some Timmy! Amazing how he gets so much torque from a small frame.

      I’ll enjoy this for a couple of days and then pull for my Giants to separate themselves from the friken dodgers (lol).

  30. This Sunnyvale native was once a 49er Gold Rush ..
    I wonder what they paid her ?

    Seems to me … that with $9.5 Billion .. you’d think (somewhere) the
    NFL could find a little more to pay these ladies ..
    After all … during the many commercial breaks they have in the games ..
    the cheerleaders do perform a necessary diversion …

    Not to mention the bonus points for being very
    easy on the eyes

  31. Anyone going to that Legends Game at Candlestick? I see Mr. Wrathman is on the roster. Should be a massacre….

    1. Can’t go, Razor .. but are you goin’ ?

      I’ve got some great memories of Rathman bowling people
      over, when he had the ball in his hands
      Wonder if he can still do that ?

      Prediction: ..
      Same outcome and same score as the Stanford Super Bowl ..
      (38-16)

      Marino will be feastin’ on some more California turf
      …. (again !)

      1. I am unable to attend as well, but I’d love to go. I caught Joe on ESPN this morning and it got me pumped to see him and listen to him opine. I agree. If you look at the 49er roster versus the All Star roster, it looks to be one sided in favor of the 49ers…..

  32. Grant, wasn’t the actress Teri Hatcher from Desparate Housewives a former Gold Rush cheerleader? You should try getting an interview with her about this subject. Could be a scoop!

      1. Yeah, MWN, that’s her. Good catch. I didn’t notice the link on the first read-through. You would think she would be a good source for information regarding how the cheerleading businsess really works both pro and con. If I were a young aspiring writer, I would be trying to get an interview.

  33. I’d try to get an interview with her even ..
    if I weren’t an aspiring writer ! …
    (I keed )

    Yeah really … Grant .. ??
    There ya go .. a great idea for a follow up column !

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