A former NFL cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints has filed a lawsuit against the football organization, alleging that the team’s policy violated her privacy by controlling every aspect of her life.
Speaking on the Facebook Watch show “The Scarlett Letter Reports,” Bailey Davis, 22, told host Amanda Knox that the New Orleans Saints allegedly had not-so-saintly policies in place that were meant to control the cheerleaders both on and off the field. The women were reportedly weighed every month, which would then be compared to the weight at their auditions. Some days she would not eat.
“Red flags were popping up in the beginning. We would have weigh-ins every month and everyone was so concerned,” Davis said, according to Fox News. “You would not eat that day. You would not drink anything because you had to be the weight you were at auditions or you could be benched.”
Some cheerleaders were so terrified of being off their weight that they sweated themselves in the car, according to Davis. “I would hear things going on and there were girls that would sweat themselves out in the car before weigh-ins and before practices. I was just … blown away,” Davis said.
One cheerleader was allegedly transported to the hospital after sweating herself out in the car so intensely. “There was one practice where a girl sweated herself out in the car and she passed out and had to go to the hospital,” said Davis. “The director told us to get the ambulance to park on the side and no one would know.”
Was the slave-driving even for a well-paying job? Apparently not, given that Davis allegedly made only $10 an hour, so it’s a mystery why anyone would take the job. Davis claims that the cheerleaders were also required to keep up appearances at all times, maintaining outrageous beauty requirements out of their own pockets: makeup, nails, spray tans, etc. Broadly notes that the Saints had very strict guidelines on how the cheerleaders were to act in their own private lives.
“Everything was very controlled – even our social media. We couldn’t post semi-nude, nude or lingerie,” she said. “The big one – no fraternization. We couldn’t talk to the football players. We couldn’t follow them on social media. We couldn’t be caught where a football player was. I was told that was the case because they were protecting us. We’re supposed to just kind of hide ourselves and not be known by them.”
Davis said her dismissal from the team occurred after she posted a photo of herself on social media in a lace black body suit. She also claims that a rumor had been circulating that she was seen with an unidentified Saints player at a party. The dismissal took place just four days after she told human resources that the rumors were not true.
“A day after the photo was posted, Davis said she was asked to resign,” reports Fox News.” She said she was confused because she ‘shows more skin on the field.’ Davis said she didn’t resign because she didn’t think she did anything wrong to give her a reason to leave the team.”
When Davis met with a Saints official, she had allegedly been given no opportunity to tell her side of the story and was personally excoriated.
“He laid into me about my character and that I was representing the team in a bad way,” she said. “One of the things he said was ‘perception is reality.’ So basically how he sees the photo is how it is. He sees it as something sexual and dirty and seeking attention. He told me he would never let his granddaughters post something like that. I was completely slut-shamed out of that room and I never felt so worthless about myself.”
So, if what Davis claims is true, that would mean the NFL is an organization that allows players to literally alienate customers by kneeling for the National Anthem but fires cheerleaders for posting photos of themselves on their private social media accounts. She has since filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, with her lawyer claiming that the Saints employed a double-standard.
The Saints deny that Davis ever faced discrimination.
“The Saints organization strives to treat all employees fairly, including Ms. Davis,” Leslie A. Lanusse, the team’s lawyer, said in a statement in March. “At the appropriate time and in the appropriate forum, the Saints will defend the organization’s policies and workplace rules. For now, it is sufficient to say that Ms. Davis was not subjected to discrimination because of her gender.”