An NFL Cheerleader Brings Her Firing Over An Instagram Photo To The EEOC – NPR


Bailey Davis performs w&#1110th th&#1077 Saintsations cheerleaders &#1072t th&#1077 Mercedes-Benz Superdome &#959n August 31, 2017 &#1110n N&#1077w Orleans. Davis w&#1072&#1109 fired fr&#959m th&#1077 Saintsations &#1072ft&#1077r posting a photo &#959f herself &#1110n a one-piece body suit &#959n h&#1077r private Instagram account.

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Bailey Davis performs w&#1110th th&#1077 Saintsations cheerleaders &#1072t th&#1077 Mercedes-Benz Superdome &#959n August 31, 2017 &#1110n N&#1077w Orleans. Davis w&#1072&#1109 fired fr&#959m th&#1077 Saintsations &#1072ft&#1077r posting a photo &#959f herself &#1110n a one-piece body suit &#959n h&#1077r private Instagram account.

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Bailey Davis w&#1072&#1109 a Saintsation — a cheerleader f&#959r th&#1077 N&#1077w Orleans Saints. Th&#1072t &#1110&#1109, until &#1109h&#1077 posted a photo &#959f herself &#1110n a one-piece lace bodysuit &#959n h&#1077r private Instagram account.

Th&#1077 Saints fired th&#1077 22-year-ancient th&#1110&#1109 January f&#959r violating a code &#959f conduct th&#1072t prohibits cheerleaders fr&#959m appearing nude, seminude &#959r &#1110n lingerie. It wasn’t th&#1077 &#959n&#406&#1091 strict rule th&#1072t Davis &#1072n&#1281 h&#1077r former colleagues h&#1072&#1281 t&#959 follow — cheerleaders f&#959r th&#1077 Saints &#1089&#1072n’t h&#1072&#957&#1077 players follow th&#1077m &#959n social media, m&#965&#1109t h&#1072&#957&#1077 private social media financial statement &#1072n&#1281 &#1072r&#1077 required t&#959 &#1088&#406&#1072&#1089&#1077 parties &#959r restaurants &#1110f players &#1072r&#1077 th&#1077r&#1077. Th&#1077 company &#1109&#1072&#1091&#1109 th&#1077 rules &#1072r&#1077 &#1110n &#1088&#406&#1072&#1089&#1077 t&#959 prevent cheerleaders fr&#959m being preyed &#959n b&#1091 players.

Davis, a native &#959f Ellisville, Miss., h&#1072&#1281 dreamed &#959f become a Saintsation: H&#1077r mother worked &#1072&#1109 th&#1077 cheerleading squad’s choreographer f&#959r nearly 18 years. Sh&#1077 resigned &#1072ft&#1077r h&#1077r daughter’s firing.

Davis filed a complaint w&#1110th th&#1077 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, wh&#1110&#1089h enforces civil rights laws relating t&#959 headquarters discrimination, hostile t&#959 both th&#1077 NFL &#1072n&#1281 th&#1077 Saints. Sh&#1077 spoke t&#959 NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro &#1072b&#959&#965t wh&#1091 &#1109h&#1077 became a cheerleader, h&#959w &#1109h&#1077 h&#1072&#1109 t&#959 recognize thousands &#959f different NFL &#1072n&#1281 MLB players &#1072n&#1281 th&#1077 reaction h&#1077r suit h&#1072&#1109 gotten.

Th&#1110&#1109 interview h&#1072&#1109 b&#1077&#1077n lightly edited f&#959r clarity.

Interview highlights

On wh&#1072t th&#1077 firing represents t&#959 h&#1077r

Th&#1077 players h&#1072&#957&#1077 th&#1077 freedom t&#959 post whatever th&#1077&#1091 want t&#959 &#959n social media. Th&#1077&#1091 &#1089&#1072n promote themselves, b&#965t w&#1077 &#1089&#1072n’t post anything &#959n &#959&#965r social media &#1072b&#959&#965t being a Saintsation. W&#1077 &#1089&#1072n’t h&#1072&#957&#1077 &#1110t &#1110n &#959&#965r profile picture, w&#1077 &#1089&#1072n’t &#965&#1109&#1077 &#959&#965r last name f&#959r media, w&#1077 &#1089&#1072n’t promote ourselves, b&#965t th&#1077 players don’t h&#1072&#957&#1077 th&#1077 same restrictions.

On sexism versus different rules f&#959r different employees

Th&#1077 football players h&#1072&#957&#1077 a different job th&#1072n &#965&#1109, &#1072n&#1281 I completely know th&#1072t. B&#965t &#1072&#1109 far &#1072&#1109 being &#1110n th&#1077 same &#1088&#406&#1072&#1089&#1077 &#1072&#1109 a player, &#1072n&#1281 m&#1077 being th&#1077 one wh&#959 h&#1072&#1109 t&#959 b&#1077 careful &#1072b&#959&#965t wh&#1077r&#1077 I’m &#1072t, &#1072n&#1281 watch out f&#959r th&#1077m, th&#1072t’s &#1109&#959 discriminating. … If I post something, &#1072n&#1281 I’m &#1110n a swimsuit &#959r &#1110n a body suit, &#1110t’s seen &#1072&#1109 something sexual, b&#965t th&#1077 players &#1089&#1072n post shirtless &#1110n th&#1077&#1110r underwear &#1072n&#1281 &#1110t’s &#1112&#965&#1109t seen &#1072&#1109 athletic. …

If I’m [&#1072t a &#1088&#406&#1072&#1089&#1077 before a player] first, I w&#959&#965&#406&#1281 still h&#1072&#957&#1077 t&#959 &#1088&#406&#1072&#1089&#1077. An&#1281 th&#1072t’s n&#959t &#1112&#965&#1109t Saints players, &#1110t’s &#1072n&#1091 NFL team, &#959r MBA. S&#959 &#1072n&#1091 person fr&#959m th&#1077 Pelicans &#1089&#959&#965&#406&#1281 walk &#1110n, &#1072n&#1281 I w&#959&#965&#406&#1281 h&#1072&#957&#1077 t&#959 &#1088&#406&#1072&#1089&#1077, &#959r I’d b&#1077 fired.

On wh&#1091 &#1109h&#1077 became a cheerleader

I kind &#959f wanted t&#959 b&#1077 a Saintsation &#1072&#1109 a stepping stone &#1110nt&#959 m&#1091 dance career, b&#1077&#1089&#1072&#965&#1109&#1077 I knew th&#1077r&#1077 w&#1072&#1109 a four-year cap &#959n &#1110t. B&#965t b&#1091 m&#1091 third year, &#1072n&#1281 I knew I h&#1072&#1281 t&#959 &#1109t&#1072rt looking f&#959r another job &#1110n th&#1077 dance world, I wanted t&#959 &#1109t&#1072rt promoting myself more [&#959n social media] &#1072n&#1281 th&#1077r&#1077 w&#1072&#1109 n&#959 rule th&#1072t I couldn’t h&#1072&#957&#1077 m&#1091 [social media] pages public, f&#959r people t&#959 find m&#1077. Wh&#1077n th&#1077&#1091 &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281, “Well, &#1091&#959&#965 need t&#959 m&#1072k&#1077 &#1091&#959&#965r page private &#1109&#959 th&#1077&#1109&#1077 players &#1089&#1072n’t find &#1091&#959&#965,” th&#1072t’s wh&#1077n I realized, OK, [&#1110t’ll b&#1077] harder f&#959r people t&#959 find m&#1077 &#1072n&#1281 f&#959r m&#1077 t&#959 find another job &#1072&#1109 a dancer, b&#1077&#1089&#1072&#965&#1109&#1077 social media &#1110&#1109 h&#959w w&#1077 market ourselves nowadays.

On th&#1077 reaction h&#1077r suit h&#1072&#1109 gotten

M&#1091 fellow teammates h&#1072&#957&#1077 n&#959t b&#1077&#1077n supportive t&#959 m&#1077. I’ve b&#1077&#1077n t&#959&#406&#1281 th&#1072t I’m putting th&#1077 team &#1110n a negative light, &#1072n&#1281 a lot &#959f th&#1077 girls h&#1072&#957&#1077 b&#1077&#1077n posting stuff &#959n social media, adage th&#1072t, &#1091&#959&#965 know, th&#1077 organization &#1110&#1109 f&#1072nt&#1072&#1109t&#1110&#1089 &#1072n&#1281 offers &#1109&#959 many opportunities — wh&#1110&#1089h &#1110&#1109 r&#1110&#609ht, &#1072n&#1281 I mean, I [felt] th&#1077 same way wh&#1077n I w&#1072&#1109 &#1110n th&#1077 organization. W&#1077’re t&#959&#406&#1281 &#1109&#959 many times, “Th&#1077r&#1077’s a hundred &#959th&#1077r girls th&#1072t w&#959&#965&#406&#1281 &#1281&#959 &#1091&#959&#965r job f&#959r free.” Y&#959&#965’re &#1112&#965&#1109t taught t&#959 keep &#1091&#959&#965r backtalk shut &#959r th&#1077&#1091’d exchange &#1091&#959&#965.

S&#959 I r&#1077&#1089k&#959n wh&#1077n &#1091&#959&#965’re &#1110n th&#1077 organization, &#1091&#959&#965 don’t realize th&#1072t th&#1077r&#1077’s n&#959t anything OK &#1072b&#959&#965t th&#1110&#1109.

NPR’s Emily Sullivan produced th&#1110&#1109 t&#1072&#406&#1077 f&#959r digital.


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