Enforced shaving, mandatory weigh-ins, and NO sweatpants: The shocking rules that American football cheerleaders are forced to follow in order to keep their jobs

NFL cheerleaders must adhere to a strict set of rules regulating everything from their personal appearance, their shape, and their conduct on the field—with some teams going as far as telling them they must not stray from they 'ideal weight'.

A new investigation has shed light on the guidelines, ranging from the oddly specific to the intrusive, that NFL cheerleaders must follow in their line of work.

This comes after it was revealed that the New Orleans Saints fired one of their cheerleaders over a post they deemed inappropriate on her personal Instagram account.

Bailey Davis, the cheerleader in question, was dismissed in January, the New York Times reported previously. She has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, saying she was treated unfairly.
Cheerleaders like Davis, employed by NFL teams, must follow specific rules depending on who they cheer for.

Those supporting the Carolina Panthers, for example, must remove or cover their body piercings, and cannot show their tattoos, the New York Times reported after reviewing a set of of cheerleader handbooks. 

They can only take water breaks at specific times - namely, when their team is on offense - are required to leave the stadium before changing into their own clothes, and on game day, must arrive at least five hours before the even starts.

Cheerleaders for the Baltimore Ravens, meanwhile, must 'maintain ideal body weight' - a rule enforced through regular weigh-ins, the New York Times wrote citing a 2009 handbook.
Another team, the Cincinnati Bengals, had a similar rule, albeit more precise, that stipulated its cheerleaders must remain within three pounds of their 'ideal weight'.

Some teams prevent their cheerleaders from wearing sweatpants in public, according to the newspaper, and edict rules regarding intimate details of their private lives, such as how to shave or use tampons.

Handbooks also shed light on the dire employment conditions some cheerleaders face, with some jobs that require them to pay hundreds of dollars in exchange for their uniforms, when their pay is just above minimum wage.

Cheerleaders can also be required to appear at charity events and sell calendars or raffle tickets, without receiving a share of the proceeds, the newspaper reported.

Even when they're not on duty, NFL cheerleaders can be required to follow a set of rules guiding their personal lives, including who they socialize with and who they date.

Some are also told to limit their social media activity, and cannot wear nail polish or jewelry as they please.

The New Orleans Saints have strict rules against fraternizing between cheerleaders and players, placing the burden entirely on cheerleaders, according to the New York Times.
Cheerleaders for the team must avoid interacting with the players both online and in person, and must block them on social media.

They must not eat in the same restaurant as a Saints player, and if they are already enjoying a meal at an establishment and a player walks in, they must leave, the newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, players are not kept from seeking out interactions with cheerleaders, and they can let anyone follow their social media accounts. 

Resisting the rules is seemingly impossible for cheerleaders in the NFL, because teams have significantly more leverage than them. If cheerleaders dare complain about their work conditions, they get reminded that it is not difficult to replace them, the newspaper wrote. 
'The club's intention is to completely control the behavior of the women, even when they are not actually at their workplace,' attorney Leslie Levy, who represented cheerleaders after they sued the Oakland Raiders and the Jets, told the New York Times.

'It's an issue of power. You see a disparate treatment between the cheerleaders, and the mascots and anyone else who works for the team. I can't think of another arena where employers exert this level of control, even when they are not at work.'  


NFL cheerleaders must obey different rules depending on the team they cheer for, and handbooks vary according to their affiliation.
This means that cheerleaders for the Carolina Panthers, for example, must comply with different rules than those supporting the Cincinnati Bengals.
Rules that can be found across several teams include:
  • Undergoing regular weigh-ins
  • Maintaining an 'ideal weight'
  • Following specific shaving techniques
  • Adhering to tampon usage guidelines
  • Removing or covering body piercings
  • Refraining from showing tattoos
  • Taking water breaks only at specific times
  • Socializing or dating as per team guidelines 
  • Leaving the stadium before changing into regular clothes
  • Not wearing sweatpants in public
  • Limiting activity on social media
  • Observing nail polish and jewelry guidelines 
  • Not interacting with the team's players in person or online 
  • Not eating in the same restaurant as a player of the team
  • Leaving if a player enters the restaurant where they are dining
  • Blocking the team's players on social media 

Enforced shaving, mandatory weigh-ins, and NO sweatpants: The shocking rules that American football cheerleaders are forced to follow in order to keep their jobs Enforced shaving, mandatory weigh-ins, and NO sweatpants: The shocking rules that American football cheerleaders are forced to follow in order to keep their jobs Reviewed by Your Destination on April 04, 2018 Rating: 5

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