Pushing new legislation that would allow NFL cheerleaders to identify as employees with their teams as opposed to contractors, State Senator Diane Savino stated that women should be able to profit from their “God-given assets.”
The NFL cheerleaders have been in a battle for fair treatment by the league, seeking wage guarantees and the protections offered other employees of the teams.
The New York Times reported:
In just the last two years, professional cheerleaders for the Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals have filed wage theft lawsuits against their respective teams, alleging labor violations including misclassification, meaning that some cheerleaders were treated as independent contractors, not as employees, and therefore didn’t receive the wages or benefits they deserved. (So far, the Raiders and Buccaneers have settled lawsuits by agreeing to pay more than $2 million in back wages.)
Savino said that the cheerleaders are very talented and “deserve to be treated … with dignity and respect.”
She then added that they should profit from their “God-given assets” which presumably have less to do with talent, and more to do with … well … their assets.
Via the Observer:
A day after the kickoff of football season, State Senator Diane Savino took to the airwaves to promote new legislation—which would make cheerleaders, who are currently often classed as independent contractors, official employees of the teams they perform for.
Appearing on the Capitol Pressroom radio show, the Staten Island legislator argued that cheerleaders receive less than minimum wage or are not paid at all, despite the time and physical effort they devote to their routines. Since the young women sign contracts dictated by the teams they are associated with, and are usually forbidden to work with another organization, Ms. Savino asserted they are not independent contractors but employees—and the teams must treat them as such by meeting wage and labor laws and paying overtime, and allowing the ladies to organize.
“These women are not just pretty. They’re very talented acrobats, dancers, gymnasts and they are as much athletes in many respects as the players on the field. They deserve to be treated, you know, with dignity and respect. And that’s all we’re asking for,” said Ms. Savino. “They bring untold financial value to the team much in the same way the players do.”
Ms. Savino pointed out the bill would apply to all cheerleaders for all professional sports teams in New York, and brushed off a questions about whether cheerleaders opened themselves up to exploitation by taking a job that had them show off their bodies,
“Look, no one would watch the cheerleaders if they were dressed in a sackcloth, it’s obvious,” she said. “You know, there’s a reason why people are watching them. Women, we’re objectified in so many ways, and when we decide that we want to somehow utilize our God-given assets, then we’re criticized for that too.”
Savino has blasted the NFL as a multi-billion dollar industry “not paying fair wages to their cheerleaders,” calling it “absurd and disgraceful.”