Cheerleaders from 3 NFL teams: the Buffalo Bills, the Oakland Raiders and the Cincinnatti Bengals have sued their teams for paying them less than minimum wage. Significantly less.
I hope they win. They are treating them like waitresses, except nobody tips the cheerleaders, and I also think it’s wrong that there’s an exception to minimum wage laws for wait staff. Originally, tipping meant they got a little bit extra, it made it a pretty good job. By paying them less than minimum wage, it means they NEED those tips and get snippy with customers in those instances when, for whatever reason, they’re not forthcoming.
But cheerleaders! They are a big part of the entertainment at a football game. They are professionals. They are uniquely qualified. Admittedly, a quarterback would be harder to replace than a cheerleader, but not just any girl off the street could do it. To start with, you need to be mega-hot. Secondly, you have to have at least enough athleticism to jump up and down for an hour, probably closer to two, and enough dedication to memorize a few choreographed routines.
I’m not saying they need to get player like salaries. A couple million bucks a year would be a bit much for what they do, but less than minimum wage is absurd. They put in hours. They attend practices. They do shlocky PR events in shopping malls and sometimes don’t get paid for it at all.
The way things stand now, cheerleaders make less than the hot dog vendors, less than the janitors and groundskeepers, less than the ticket takers, and that’s not right.
Also, while we’re at it – why is the NFL tax exempt? Seriously, it is.