Bailey Davis was a New Orleans Saints cheerleader for three seasons. As reported by Ken Belson in the New York Times, she says she was fired because of a photo (top right above) that she posted on her private Instagram, which doesn’t really seem more risque than her cheerleading uniform. She has filed a civil rights complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission describing the litany of different rules the Saints cheerleaders had from the male players in the organization.
Davis joined Megyn Kelly on NBC’s Today show this morning, and she was very poised. The interview starts right before the 3-minute mark of the video above. She mentioned that the organizational rules so strictly forbid “fraternization” between the cheerleaders and players that if she was in a restaurant and a player walked in, she would have to leave mid-meal.
“They said they wanted to protect us from the players,” Davis told Kelly. “That the players are predators, and they’re gonna wanna prey on us.”
Kelly asked if the Saints organization actually used that word. “They did in an email, yes,” Davis said, clarifying that this was said by the cheerleading coaches.
As an aside, this is the type of segment that the NFL would flip out about if it aired on ESPN, but for whatever reason it’s unlikely we hear about any backlash about it airing on NBC, another broadcast partner with the league.
As the Times notes, this is far from the first NFL franchise that has come under scrutiny for either absurd regulations or poor pay when it comes to treatment of cheerleaders:
The Buffalo Bills cheerleaders, before the squad disbanded in the face of a wage lawsuit, said they were told to do jumping jacks in tryouts to see if their flesh jiggled, and had to attend a golf tournament for sponsors where high rollers paid cash to watch bikini-clad cheerleaders do back flips. Their Facebook pages were monitored by team officials without their knowledge.
Cheerleaders for the Oakland Raiders settled a lawsuit over their wages and are now paid minimum wage and overtime. Members of squads from other teams have won settlements worth thousands of dollars after suing the Cincinnati Bengals, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Jets, over poor pay and requirements that they pay for their own makeup, uniforms and transportation.
It will be worth monitoring to see where Davis’s civil right complaint goes.