NFL Teams Have ‘Secret’ Cheerleader Squads That Are Rife With Abuse

Several NFL teams, including the Washington Redskins, Houston Texans, and the New England Patriots, employ a bevy of “alternate” cheerleaders who don’t dance or cheer, The New York Times reports. Instead, these “scantily clad hostesses” entertain the team’s fans, especially the well-heeled execs in luxury suites. The Washington Redskins, for example, hired women who didn’t make the regular squad after requiring them “to walk in bikinis in front of suite holders and sponsors who held score sheets.” One Texans “appearance-only cheerleader” said she was routinely groped on the job by drunken fans, and reported one incident to police and the team, but “nothing was done about it.” The women on the squad were paid $7.25 an hour—Texas’ minimum wage—and several reported a season-end thank you of a Starbucks gift card that actually turned out to have a zero balance or as little as $5, or wasn’t even registered at all. “All of us said, wow, the Texans must have really appreciated us,” one squad member told the Times. “We were laughing, but crying.”