Bailey Davis, a former cheerleader for the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, is suing the franchise for discrimination after she claims she was fired for posting a picture of herself in a bathing suit.
Davis, who cheered for the New Orleans Saints for three years, says the team claimed she had violated their “extremely strict” code of conduct. Davis says the Saints officials accused her of appearing “nude, semi-nude or in lingerie and attending a party with the franchise’s football players” – both of which are prohibited by the franchise’s code of conduct.
However, Davis denies breaching any team protocols and has now filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as a result of her dismissal.
According to the New York Times, the photograph in question appeared on the cheerleader’s Instagram page in January. She was fired four days later.
via New York Times:
When she posted a photo of herself in a one-piece outfit in January, Saints officials accused her, despite her protests, of breaking rules that prohibit cheerleaders from appearing nude, seminude or in lingerie. For this indiscretion, and amid an inquiry about her attending a party with Saints players — another regulation that she denies violating — Davis was fired after what she said were three largely trouble-free seasons.
Now Davis has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that enforces civil rights laws. The complaint accuses the Saints of having two sets of rules — one for the team’s cheerleaders, who are all women, and another for its players. The complaint, which asserts that the rules in New Orleans reflect outdated views of women, follows a number of gender-related struggles in the N.F.L. over domestic violence and sexual harassment among players and league employees.
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.
The Times article further details the Saints’ bizarre code of conduct for cheerleaders. For example, cheerleaders are not allowed to wear the franchise’s merchandise despite the fact they are employed by the team.
While Davis will not be able to cheer for the Saints again, she said she filed her discrimination case because wanted other cheerleaders by forcing the team to change its rules.