My Voice: Are NFL Cheerleaders Being Paid Fairly?

   When you think of the people and athletes involved in the NFL you probably tend to think of the players, coaches, owners, trainers, fans and last but not least, the cheerleaders. Being an NFL cheerleader is more than just wearing a uniform, waving pom poms and smiling at fans.

   Being a professional cheerleader is hard work. Although some may not consider cheerleading a sport, it is physically demanding. Prior to making the team just like any other athletic tryout, these women must be in very good shape.

   Although they aren’t getting hit by other people every game these women are required to run, jump, shout, dance and put on a show in varying temperatures.

   NFL cheerleaders are required by their contract to uphold and maintain a certain type of image. With the image that is asked of them, these women pay for their own tryout fees and gym memberships to keep their weight maintained (which is in their contracts or else they face the possibility of getting benched).

   NFL cheerleaders are required to make community appearances (even in the offseason) and practice every week for 16 weeks in a row and cheer every week for 8 hours and sometimes more depending on game schedule.

   Yes, I know these women knew that this job wasn’t going to be their primary source of income. Yes, I know these women aren’t getting physically hit and facing life threatening injuries quite like the professional football players are.

   However, these women are making a year-long commitment to a part-time job that pays minimum wage and worked very hard to maintain a specific image for a team worth millions of dollars and an entire corporation worth billions of dollars.

   This is where I draw an issue. The average ticket price to an NFL game is approximately $100. The salary of an NFL mascot is nearly $60,000. NFL waterboys get paid $53,000 a year. And there are football players who don’t play on the field each week and their average salary is over $100,000.

   What is the salary of an NFL cheerleader? Well, they get paid between $75 to $150 so let’s just meet close to the middle and call it $100 a game. That means NFL cheerleaders make close to $1,600 a year and maybe more if they make public appearances which they get paid close to game day rates for.

   I know these women made their own choices on what type of job they were signing up for. However, the pay gaps in some of these jobs are a little frightening.

   These women are working very hard for a job that is considered to be part-time, they risk bodily injury every game they attend on the sidelines and they are doing it for way less than half of the person above them on the payroll.

   I love sports and especially football but after hearing about this I wanted to address it publicly to those who may not know this side of the football field. Just something to think about.

Lindsey Elam
Sports Editor

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