Re: Iggles, Cheerleaders, oh my!

Well, it looks like in the few hours of its existence, my last blog entry is already tearing across Philly cyberspace.  Perhaps now would be the time to offer some addendums to the questions I raised.  *cough

First things first, Iggles blog has raised the subject of proportionality:

Secondly, how typically heavy-handed is this of the Eagles / NFL?  Rather than just saying the team expects the cheerleaders to project a wholesome image and will remove those who don’t, they send in the lawyers to shut down their access to social networking sites that pretty much the entirety of the under-35 population in this country uses.  Because it sure would be terrible if those cheerleaders were out there sticking up basically-naked pictures of themselves.

Second, if you click on that link, yep, you definitely have to wonder where the heck the “wholesomeness” is.  I suppose the word means something vague, an idea orbiting somewhere around “family values.”  But this still begs the question — how do skimpily clad women bounding through the air reflect a good Christian home life?  To be fair, I suppose it means that good Christian girls can still have fun, but the increasing sluttiness (and smuttiness) of cheerleading calls this into question.  Then again, in our era of sexual liberty, “slut” is itself a concept in need of serious re-examination.  Consider this illustrious list of cheerleader scandals.

Third and finally, a lot of e-mailers are writing, essentially, “They signed the contract, so that’s that.”  Fair enough.  But could not the contract itself be in violation of their civil liberties, regardless of whether the cheerleaders “knew what they were getting into”?

At no point should it be interpretted that I am personally against nigh-naked women flying through the air, performing stratospheric leg splits and other feats of arousing acrobatics.  In the interest of full journalistic disclosure (ahem) I thoroughly enjoy their craft.  I’m just curious about the philosophy behind it, that’s all.


I posted my questions on Yahoo! Answers (here and here).  Here are some highlights:

Regarding “wholesomeness” —

Well, I think it depends on the team. It seems like some teams might try to promote a less sexy image. Whenever the Packers have cheerleaders on the sidelines (I think they borrow theirs from local colleges), they seem to be wearing sweaters and long pleated skirts — more like the old-fashioned varsity look.

So maybe your team is like that. If you’re a fan of the Dallas Cowboys, well, your cheerleaders look about as “wholesome” as Madonna. Having someone tell them not to promote a salacious image would be ridiculous, because of what they already (barely) wear on the sidelines.

Bottom line, I guess, is that the cheerleaders are under contract, and their employer has a right to tell them how to act in the public eye, however silly it may seem. [Submitted by Fez]

Traditionally, high school cheerleading promoted a wholesome image. Back in the 70’s, a cheerleader first had to make the honor role before she could make cheerleaders cut. She had to be maticulously groomed and not one pound overweight. She had to project a modest image to stay on the team. That was in high school. Those women set the tone in their schools. Of course, these women were under 18 years of age and their cheers were designed to rally and support their teams. Strict guidelines were followed. College and professional football teams elected another type of cheerleader: one who projected a less innocent image with her dress, and movements. These cheerleaders job was mainly to attract viewers to the game. These girls helped with a teams popularity.They were adults entertaining. [Submitted by Shiptashore]

I would assume that it would be fine for the cheerleading squad to have facebook or myspace profile, its the personal profiles that are the issue. When I was in the US Army serving in Korea, we flew the Dallas Cheerleaders around in a helicopter to visit the troops. I think promoting a “wholesome” image can only be a good thing.

Many athletes (we can argue about cheerleading being a sport or if cheerleaders are athletes) wear attire which would not be appropriate to wear while not performing. Think of gymnasts, swimmers, runners, track uniforms, etc. Do not confuse a cheerleaders attire for their personal morals.  [Submitted by bigfatdummy]

I think the last answer was the best; Shiptashore’s was the most enlightening historically.  Now, regarding the social lives/civil rights issue —

My sister is a cheerleader for a NFL team and she lives a very normal life!!  She has a b/f and 2 great jobs one being a cheerleader.  PS my sis doesn’t have facebook or myspace she has no time for that kind of stuff.  [Submitted by Kauai Girl]

They aren’t allowed to ‘SOCIAL’ network. Their webpages have to be strictly based on the NFL official website.  They can lead normal lives, I’ve meet a couple that have another job along with cheerleading. I know you aren’t allowed to make contact with the players outside of ‘work’ though. [Submitted by purplepride♥]

Absolutely. Where I went to college, in the offseason, I worked parttime at a bar near campus, where a girl who was a cheerleader for a nearby NFL team bartended. She had a normal social life, and loved being a cheerleader. She was a very busy girl during the fall tho – between school, bartending, and cheerleader appearances, she was pretty much booked every night.

My assumption would be deleting the facebook and myspace profiles is essentially just as much for their safety – it may be a necessity to prevent creepers from stalking them. Also, should they leave an inappropriate comment or message, it can reflect poorly on the team.

As far as the “sexy pictures” go, that’s simply not the case – the teams themselves typically release calenders, swimsuit photos, and other such photographs that are sold to fans. The breach in contract may be for marketing themselves (and making money off of it) while still under contract for their team. I don’t believe they can model for other agencies and corporations while under contract.

Their social life is perfectly normal, with the exception of having to make (paid) appearances at events. They are typically well compensated for these appearances – 100 an hour plus mileage reimbursement.  [Submitted by Jim Baw]

And now for the best answer, submitted by Nick (whom I suspect to be my friend “Forgotten Taco”):

Cheers bro, an entire squad of professional cheerleaders. Don’t ask Yahoo Answers! Go ask the cheerleaders! Pull some numbers.


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