ABC News says 23-year-old Ravens cheerleader Courtney Lenz — a five-year veteran of the squad from Baltimore — was not invited to perform at the Super Bowl after she announced she would be retiring her pompoms.
Lenz is accusing the team of not allowing her to cheer in New Orleans because she said this season would be her last with the 60-member squad, ABC News says. She also says she’s the “only three-plus year veteran” on the squad not going to the game.
In a statement to ABC, the Ravens say they can only bring 32 cheerleaders to the Super Bowl.
“Our selection process was based upon three criteria: seniority, performance ability and personal conduct throughout the season. As much as we would like to take the whole team, we are unable to do so, due to parameters set by the NFL,” a spokeswoman tells the site.
Lenz says she is “devastated” by the situation. An online petition urging the Ravens to reinstate Lenz also alleges the cheerleader was told she didn’t put in as many appearance hours this past season and that she was benched last fall for gaining 2 pounds.
The petition says Lenz earned her college degree and obtained a full-time job this season.
“Courtney is beautiful & this organization that is supposedly out there to promote self esteem and healthy body image to millions of young girls and women nationwide has done a big injustice to Courtney & we are outraged! She deserves to be out on the field with her teammates, her family,” the petition states.
A Facebook page for Lenz’s cause also had nearly 2,300 likes Wednesday morning.
Ed. Note: The photo that previously appeared in this story incorrectly identified Ravens cheerleader Serena B. as Courtney Lenz. It has been removed.