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Grant Cohn: NFL cheerleading a rah deal (w/video)

Cheerleaders have to attend mandatory unpaid events, like golf parties for the team executives. The cheerleaders pose for pictures with men, sit on men's laps, do back flips for tips they don't get to keep and get dunked into water tanks.

Cheerleaders have to do "jiggle tests." They do 10 jumping jacks, and they can't perform if any part of their body jiggles in their uniform.

Starting next season, fans at certain stadiums will be able to instruct cheerleaders via text message to come up to their section of the stands.

Free geishas for everybody!

Why don't NFL cheerleaders just quit? During the HBO documentary, Andrea Kremer asked that question to Maria, a former Buffalo Bills cheerleader. They're called "Buffalo Jills." Seriously.

Maria said, "For the love of cheering."

Cheerleaders consider themselves dancers, a noble profession. But there also is an element of narcissism in cheerleading that Maria didn't talk about and Kremer didn't ask about. Cheerleaders get validation for being pretty. They get to stand on the field. They get to be around famous athletes and wealthy executives. Quite the allure.

The NFL understands that and is working that angle to exploit young women.

At one point during the documentary, Kremer asked the former manager of the Buffalo Jills, Stephanie Mateczun, why the cheerleaders must endure such demeaning conditions.

"They are told right up front what is expected of them," said Mateczun. "If you think it's going to be too much, then you don't have to do it."


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