A former New Orleans Saints cheerleader reportedly filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming the organization holds cheerleaders and players to separate standards.
Bailey Davis, 22, told The New York Times on Sunday she was fired days after posting a picture to social media of herself in a one-piece swimsuit in January. She said team officials accused her of violating rules that bar cheerleaders from appearing nude, seminude or in lingerie and attending parties with Saints players. It's unclear exactly which picture got Davis in trouble.
Davis said her social media accounts were set to private in accordance with team rules. Cheerleaders were also told to block players from following them, but players were not told to block cheerleaders from following them, according to The New York Times.
Four days after the photo was posted, Davis said she received a text message from Ashley Deaton, the director of the team’s cheerleading squad.
“Very poor judgment to post a picture like that especially considering our recent conversations about the rumors going around about u,” Deaton wrote, referencing a rumor that Davis attended a party with a player. “This does not help your case. I’d expect you to know better.”
Davis said she denied the allegations multiple times and reportedly said in her complaint the franchise’s rules reflected outdated views of women in the workplace.
Davis’ complaint argues that the Saints’ 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.
Sara Blackwell, Davis’ lawyer, told The New York Times the Saints’ policy is tantamount to a double standard.
“If the cheerleaders can’t contact the players, then the players shouldn’t be able to contact the cheerleaders,” Blackwell said. “The antiquated stereotype of women needing to hide for their own protection is not permitted in America and certainly not in the workplace.”
The Saints 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.”