Saints Cheerleader Fired for Risqué Social Media Photo Slams Team for ‘Unfair’ Rules

AP Bill Feig NO
AP Photo/Bill Feig

Former New Orleans Saints cheerleader Bailey Davis recently appeared on NBC’s Megyn Kelly Today to decry what she called unfair rules for cheerleaders, after she was fired for posting a risqué photo on her personal Instagram account.

Davis was fired in January after posting a photo of herself wearing lacy one-piece lingerie on her Instagram account. The team insisted that her risqué photo broke cheer squad rules meant to protect the girls from amorous players, The New York Times reported.

But, Davis claims that her Instagram account was set to private, so the photo was not open to public viewing. She has also filed a civil rights complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, insisting that the rules for cheerleaders are unfair especially when compared to the less rigorous rules the male players must abide.

Davis, 22, told Kelly that the rules are framed as a way to keep them safe from players. “They said they wanted to protect us from the players,” Davis said, according to The Big Lead. “That the players are predators, and they’re gonna wanna prey on us.”

But Davis also said she feels the rules are based on outdated notions of womanhood.

As the Times notes:

According to the Saints’ handbook for cheerleaders, as well as internal emails and text messages reviewed by The New York Times and interviews with Davis, the Saints have an anti-fraternization policy that requires cheerleaders to avoid contact with players, in person or online, even though players are not penalized for pursuing such engagement with cheerleaders. The cheerleaders must block players from following them on social media and cannot post photos of themselves in Saints gear, denying them the chance to market themselves. The players are not required to do any of these things.

Cheerleaders are told not to dine in the same restaurant as players, or speak to them in any detail. If a Saints cheerleader enters a restaurant and a player is already there, she must leave. If a cheerleader is in a restaurant and a player arrives afterward, she must leave. There are nearly 2,000 players in the N.F.L., and many of them use pseudonyms on social media. Cheerleaders must find a way to block each one, while players have no limits on who can follow them.

There have been several other lawsuits by cheerleaders against their teams. Such other suits include the Oakland Raiders, the Cincinnati Bengals, the New York Jets, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers which have been filed over the past several years.

As to the Saints, a lawyer representing the team sent a statement to the Times insisting that the team treats all employees fairly.

“The Saints organization strives to treat all employees fairly, including Ms. Davis,” attorney Leslie A. Lanusse said. “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.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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