Redskins president Bruce Allen says team ‘heard very different accounts’ of cheerleaders’ story
SportsPulse: The details are degrading. The culture is clear. It’s time to re-evaluate Dan Snyder’s ownership of the Washington Redskins.
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Washington Redskins President Bruce Allen said the club has “heard very different first-hand accounts that directly contradict many of the details” in a published report that alleged some cheerleaders were subjected to misogynistic and predatory behavior over the years.
Allen said in a statement, released Thursday, that the Redskins are investigating what The New York Times reported Wednesday, and the “organization is very concerned by the allegations involving our cheerleaders.”
Some of the allegations included in the Times piece included details from a 2013 trip to an adults-only resort in Costa Rica, where cheerleaders were asked to go topless and wear body paint during a calendar shoot – in front of Redskins sponsors and FedEx Field suite owners, all men.
“We are immediately looking into this situation and want to express how serious we take these allegations,” Allen said. “Based on the dialogue we’ve had with a number of current and former cheerleaders over the past 24 hours, we’ve heard very different first-hand accounts that directly contradict many of the details of the May 2 article. I can promise that once we have completed looking into this matter, if it is revealed that any of our employees acted inappropriately, those employees will face significant repercussions.”
Several unnamed cheerleaders made some serious, troubling claims, including allegations of what occurred during the week-long trip.
While some cheerleaders were required to be topless, others wore only body paint at a photo shoot. (None of the nude photos were selected for the team’s calendar.)
The cheerleaders were forced to sign non-disclosure agreements at the time of their hire.
The story also detailed a trip to a night club, where some cheerleaders were asked to accompany some of the men.
“It’s just not right to send cheerleaders out with strange men when some of the girls clearly don’t want to go,” one cheerleader who was in attendance told the newspaper . “But unfortunately, I feel like it won’t change until something terrible happens, like a girl is assaulted in some way, or raped. I think teams will start paying attention to this only when it’s too late.”
NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy told USA TODAY Sports that the investigation is “being conducted at the club level.”
The story of the Costa Rica trip is one of several to come to light in the past few months that have drawn attention to the way NFL teams treat their cheerleaders.
They’re often asked to work long hours practicing, perform at games, do community service work and agree to numerous restrictions on their personal life — all while being paid modest sums of money.
Contributing: Lindsay Jones