If NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will have a meeting with a group of cheerleaders, the two former cheerleaders who recently filed discrimination claims will settle those claims for $1 each.
The settlement proposal by Sara Blackwell, the lawyer representing the cheerleaders, asked that Goodell and league lawyers have a “good faith” meeting with at least four cheerleaders to create binding rules and regulations for all NFL teams. Also, teams that currently have cheerleading squads would not be allowed to disband them as retaliation for at least five years.
The proposal was sent to NFL attorney Steven Hurd on Tuesday.
Should the NFL reject Blackwell’s proposal, Davis’ and Ware’s complaints would continue through due process.
“We’re not asking them to admit fault, or to admit guilt, or even admit that there is anything wrong,” Blackwell said in a phone interview with The New York Times. “But if they do want and expect that cheerleaders should have a fair working environment, as they have stated, then it doesn’t make any common sense why the answer would be no.”
In response to current and former cheerleaders who recently have discussed the indignities of their job — including sexual harassment, low pay, long hours and strict rules governing appearance and social media that don’t apply to players or other representatives of the team — the NFL issued a written statement that said it would work with clubs “in sharing best practices” to support cheerleading squads.
“Everyone who works in the NFL, including cheerleaders, has the right to work in a positive and respectful environment that is free from any and all forms of harassment and discrimination and fully complies with state and federal laws,” the statement read.
“If the NFL is serious about this statement,” Blackwell said in Tuesday’s letter, “then this should be an acceptable settlement demand.”
Davis was fired from the Saintsations cheerleading squad after posting an Instagram photo showing her in an outfit similar to a one-piece swimsuit. She filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, saying that the Saints have different standards for women and men.?
Ware, who worked for three seasons with the Dolphins, filed a complaint this month with the Florida Commission on Human Relations, saying she was subjected to a hostile work environment and discriminated against over gender and religion.?
The two other cheerleaders who would attend the meeting with Davis and Ware have not been determined, Blackwell said, but they would not be associated with Blackwell and would come from different teams.
“We want the opportunity for change,” Blackwell said, adding that she understood the NFL could meet with them and end up doing nothing.
“I understand that risk,” she said. “But it’s a risk we’re willing to take to try to have real change.”