Post report further details alleged mistreatment of Washington Football cheerleaders

Report further details alleged mistreatment of Washington cheerleaders originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Washington Post provided further details Friday on mistreatment allegations made by former Washington Football Team cheerleaders, including exploitative working conditions and inappropriate comments made by owner Daniel Snyder. 

The story comes three months after the Post first reported the alleged creation and dissemination of explicit videos showing exposed cheerleaders during calendar shoots in the Dominican Republic.

The organization has agreed to a request by attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz — who represent 12 ex-Washington cheerleaders — for an ‘independent forensic investigation’ to secure any copies of the 2008 and 2010 unauthorized videos that might still exist on its internal computer systems.

Among the details unearthed by Post reporters Beth Reinhard, Liz Clarke, Will Hobson and researcher Alice Crites, the former director of cheerleading for Washington Football accused team owner Dan Snyder of crude comments against the cheerleaders. 

“I don’t think they viewed us as people. They viewed us as replaceable objects,” Chastity Evans, a Washington Football Team cheerleader for five seasons who appears in the unauthorized 2008 video, told the Post

The Washington Football Team has not yet made public comment on the accusations in The Post’s story, but it did issue a statement to the paper. 

“Like many companies and organizations, the Washington Football Team is examining its historical practices and behaviors,” the statement to the Post said. “We take the criticisms of our cheerleading program seriously and we remain committed to reviewing all programs thoroughly.” 

The Post obtained standard cheerleader contracts from 2008 to 2010, highlighting strict code-of-conduct policies and a double standard when it came to the women being seen with players. 

Washington had a zero-tolerance policy stating cheerleaders, “may not date, socialize, fraternize or flirt” with players. Two women allegedly lost their jobs in 2005 for dating former Washington tight end Chris Cooley, who claimed players were not made aware of that policy. 

“No one said anything to the players about who you do or don’t talk to,” Cooley told The Post. “I didn’t feel like, in any way, that it was misconduct on my part.”

Other unsettling work conditions detailed by the former employees include not being able to park their cars at games due to “Snyder and his inner circle” using the cheerleaders’ practice studio for their own vehicles, according to the story. Cheerleaders were allotted limited parking spots and in effect forced to carpool to games. 

The team’s swimsuit calendar became a subject of controversy as well. Cheerleaders were required to sell at least 50 calendars themselves and if that quota was not met the money would be taken out of the paycheck they received at the end of the season.

The 12 former Washington Football cheerleaders represented by Banks and Katz have notified the team of their intent to sue. There are 20 more cheerleaders represented by attorney Gloria Allred, though it is unclear if those women are pursuing legal action, too. 

The franchise is also currently dealing with allegations of sexual harassment and verbal abuse of female employees. Multiple front-office employees were fired or retired in July just days before the Post ran its first expose of a toxic workplace culture for women. At the end of August, the NFL took over an investigation into the Washington Football Team’s culture under Snyder. 

 

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