Looks like that Raiderettes lawsuit was just the beginning. Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader Alexa Brenneman has filed her own class-action lawsuit against the team for allegedly violating federal employment laws. As with the Raiders and Ravens, the juiciest reading here is the list of rules handed down to cheerleaders, governing their appearance and comportment. To be an NFL cheerleader, it seems, is to be simultaneously sexed-up and infantilized.
Let's start with the panties and boobs, both of which are closely regulated by the team:
No panties are to be worn under practice clothes or uniform, not even thong panties. Wear pantyhose to match skin tone (L'eggs). No Danskins/Dance type tights. No control top at practices or games. No exposed skin at ankles — pantyhose must extend down into socks.
No slouching breasts. Support as needed. Black or nude seamless bra mandatory for games. (No lace)
The appearance section also prohibits gum chewing while "representing" the team, mandates the use of contacts for the near- or far-sighted, and reserves for the cheer director the right to change a Ben-Gal's hair or makeup as "feels necessary." Also: "Stay away from frosted lip sticks and eye shadows. Management will determine your proper color analysis." As always, "Glamour is a priority!"
The rules are also full of imperatives. They can be persnickety: "DO NOT WEAR UNIFORM WHILE TRAVELING IN A MOTOR VEHICLE." Mysterious: "Absolutely no one is permitted to go into the back closet in the gym. This area is completely off limits unless instructed." Fascist: "ABSOLUTELY NO ARGUING OR QUESTIONING THE PERSON IN AUTHORITY!!!"
But it wouldn't be NFL cheerleading without a fixation on the cheerleaders' weight. From the "Fitness Program" section:
Scale weight is recorded twice per week. This data is collected to determine ideal weight.
You are given a 3 lb leniency weight. (example- if your goal weight is 114, you are allowed to weigh in at 117 without being considered over)
Weight is a constant evaluation process throughout the season your scale weight is taken into consideration along with overall body appearance to determine cheer eligibility.
If you are over your 3 lb leniency weight, you will be required to stay 30 minutes after practice for extra conditioning. Additionally, at management's discretion, you can/will be pulled from your position and possibly not considered for charity/paid events.
Where the Bengals find themselves in legal trouble is the payment plan. The rules we've attached in the document don't shed much light on that, but the lawsuit alleges that Ben-Gals are paid only $90 per game, plus whatever they make during paid appearances. The rules do require cheerleaders to sign up for at least 12 charity (read: unpaid) appearances for the season before they will be selected to attend a paid event, and Brenneman says she only got picked for one paid appearance. The suit also cites a Forbes article that claims cheerleaders bring in an estimated $1 million per team.
You can read the rest of the rules below.
See also: NFL Cheerleading Is A Scam: A Former Ravens Cheerleader Tells All