A former New Orleans Saints cheerleader, who claimed she was fired over an Instagram picture, alleged Monday that a team executive said she had a “dirty face” in a meeting over the photograph.
Bailey Davis, 22, wrote in an essay for Cosmopolitan that a Saints human resources representative told her that she had a “dirty face” and “that he’d never let his granddaughters post something like that."
Davis claims in an Equal Employment Opportunity lawsuit against the NFL that a photo of her in a black lace one-piece that she took and posted on Instagram was the reason why she was fired from the Saints’ cheerleading squad.
She told The New York Times last month the Saints hold players and cheerleaders to different standards.
“’Perception is reality, perception is reality,’ he kept repeating. What perception? That I’m trash, I guess. That I wanted attention from the players,” Davis wrote.
David wrote in the piece that she didn’t think it was a “sexy photo” that she posted. She wrote that she had the photo taken for her portfolio to “show off” her physique for future dance auditions when her time with the Saints was over.
The former cheerleader told The Times that team officials also accused her of attending parties with Saints players. She wrote in Cosmopolitan that she was forced to make her Instagram private after it was discovered players were messaging her emojis in response to her Instagram posts.
Davis said someone made up a rumor that she was seen at a party with a Saints player in Mississippi. She said that was impossible because she was in Orlando with family during the time of the alleged party.
“There was no proof, and no one had used my name. I wasn’t even in the state at the time of the alleged party. I had been in Orlando with my family,” she wrote.
“’Perception is reality, perception is reality,’ he kept repeating. What perception? That I’m trash, I guess. That I wanted attention from the players."
Davis wrote that Saints officials told her that the no fraternization rules were in place to protect the cheerleaders. In the lawsuit she filed against the Saints, Davis argues that the team’s strict rules about fraternizing with players, including not speaking to them at all or dining in the same restaurant as them, violates the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
The team had previously denied any discrimination took place.
“The Saints organization strives to treat all employees fairly, including Ms. Davis,” said Leslie A. Lanusse, the team’s lawyer. “At the appropriate time and in the appropriate forum, the Saints will defend the organization’s policies and workplace rules. For now, it is sufficient to say that Ms. Davis was not subjected to discrimination because of her gender.”
Davis’ account comes as it was revealed that NFL cheerleaders must maintain “an ideal body weight,” engage in the "proper use of tampons" and refrain from wearing sweatpants in public.
Fox News’ Kathleen Joyce and the Associated Press contributed to this report.