Alexa Brenneman of the Cincinnati Ben-Gals cheerleader squad has become the second cheerleader from as many teams to publicly sue her parent team for violating federal wage laws in a class-action lawsuit. She joins the Oakland Raiderettes (both past and present) who made the news a few weeks ago for a similar lawsuit. In fact, it’s so similar that it prompted the Ben-Gals to say this in response:
“The lawsuit appears to be a copycat lawsuit that mimics the one filed last month in California against a different NFL club. The Bengals will address the litigation in due course.”
The real story here, though, isn’t so much the lawsuit as it is what the lawsuit has revealed. The full Ben-Gals cheerleaders handbook was made available by Alexa and can be seen on Cincinnati.com. We’ve gone ahead and found some highlights for you:
• ‘No slouching breasts. Support as needed’.
• ‘No panties are to be worn under practice clothes or uniform, not even thong panties’ is another rule. [Editor's note: this has to have been written by a man. Don't women hate the word "panties"?]
• “ABSOLUTELY NO ARGUING OR QUESTIONING THE PERSON IN AUTHORITY!!!”
• “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.”
And while some of those rules sound pretty strict, they’re not the basis of the class-action lawsuit. That’s just Alexa airing out the dirty laundry. The real focus of the lawsuit is that Mrs. Brenneman was paid $2.85 an hour when the Ohio minimum wage in 2013 was $7.85.
Let’s be honest for a second, the Cincinnati Bengals do not have such a good track record when it comes to the public face of the Ben-Gals. Searching the terms “Cincinnati bengals cheerleader” on Google will give you hit after hit of the Sarah Jones fiasco and now Alexa’s lawsuit before you finally get to a page even remotely close to flattering. (To be fair, the term “Cincinnati Ben-Gal” gives you legitimate results right away.)
They also placed dead last in our listing of list of “Best NFL Cheerleading Teams To Follow On Social Media” this year. At the time this post is being written, they have zero social media presence.
From the looks of it from up here in the peanut gallery, it looks like the whole thing just boils down to poor management. Hopefully this thing gets sorted out because we don’t want to lose another cheerleading squad.
[H/T Busted Coverage for the photos]