Former NFL cheerleader claims she was sacked over Instagram picture, report says

Saints cheeleaders

A former New Orleans Saints cheerleader reportedly filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming the organization holds cheerleaders and players to separate standards. Davis also informed Saints officials that she was contacted by players on social media, after which the cheerleaders were told to block players from following them on social media, and to switch their social media settings from public to private.

Davis was sacked from the team after the Saints claimed she violated rules by posting a photo of herself in a one-piece outfit on a private Instagram page in January. Davis claims the team sets different rules for men, primarily Saints players, and women, primarily the Saintsations.

Davis does not expect to get her job back if successful, but said she is filing the lawsuit to help other cheerleaders by forcing the team to change its rules so all employees were treated equally.

Bailey Davis said she was sacked after three years with the National Football League team, who claimed she had violated its extremely strict code of conduct. The cheerleaders must block players from following them on social media and can not post photos of themselves in Saints gear, denying them the chance to market themselves. For example, cheerleaders aren't allowed to speak to any players at length or eat at the same restaurant as players.

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Davis claims she was sacked just days after she posted a photo on her private Instagram page that showed her dawning a one-piece outfit. "If the cheerleaders can't contact the players, then the players shouldn't be able to contact the cheerleaders", Davis' lawyer Sara Blackwell told the paper.

According to the handbook, if a cheerleader enters a restaurant where a player is eating, she must leave. Saintsations management told her she had a "dirty face" in the pictures, which invited attention from players, Davis said. The Saints additionally accused Davis of attending a party with Saints players, another regulation she denies violating. As the New York Times noted, the Buffalo Bills are in hot water for telling its cheerleaders to do jumping jacks during tryouts to see how toned their bodies were. If anything the football players should have the same rules, or at least they should be the ones with strict regulation so their predatory behavior is regulated. (The Saints admitted to her that they had no evidence she was present.) And that's just part of the Saints' very comprehensive anti-fraternization policy, which applies only to cheerleaders. It's like the Saints want them to be cheerleaders on the field (and dance in revealing costumes, which they're not allowed to wear in any pictures on social media), but they don't want them to talk about it or be publicly associated with the team whenever they're off the field, which is most of the time.

'The antiquated stereotype of women needing to hide for their own protection is not permitted in America and certainly not in the workplace'.

A lawyer for the Saints, Leslie Lanusse, denied that Davis was the victim of gender discrimination. "The Saints will defend these allegations in due course, and the Organization is confident that its policies and workplace rules will withstand legal scrutiny".


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