We can all agree that things are going pretty great for the Philadelphia Eagles right now, seeing as how they are the defending world champions. For the Washington Redskins, a team that used to be a rival but is now basically a schedule speed bump, not so much.
No rational person can argue that the Redskins logo isn’t unacceptably racist. Look at this thing:
Photo Caption: Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY
As recently as 2013, even Redskins fans agreed that the team’s name was offensive. Per an NPR online post: “A Washington Post poll from June revealed that…(o)ver half of those questioned agreed that the word ‘redskin’ is an inappropriate term to describe Native Americans.”
Redskins’ owner Daniel Snyder’s stubborn efforts to keep this ignorant caricature of Native Americans as his team’s brand continue unabated, with even the highest courts in this great land unable or unwilling to force Snyder to act like a human being.
With that as pretext, it probably won’t surprise you that the Redskins have also engaged in some skeevy behavior involving their cheerleaders.
The New York Times has reported that in 2013, Redskins cheerleaders were in Costa Rica shooting the team’s cheesecake calendar — for which they were not paid wages — only to learn that posing in skimpy bathing suits and frolicking in the surf wasn’t going to suffice:
For the photo shoot…some of the cheerleaders said they were required to be topless, though the photographs used for the calendar would not show nudity. Others wore nothing but body paint. Given the resort’s secluded setting, such revealing poses would not have been a concern for the women — except that the Redskins had invited spectators.
Yup…the Redskins had granted a “contingent of sponsors and FedExField suite holders” access to the photo shoot that the Times described as “up-close.” I’ll bet.
And if you think the voyeuristic fun ended when the cameras were put away, well, you don’t know the Redskins too well:
One evening, at the end of a 14-hour day that included posing and dance practices, the squad’s director told nine of the 36 cheerleaders that their work was not done. They had a special assignment for the night. Some of the male sponsors had picked them to be personal escorts at a nightclub.
You don’t need to be a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies to see what this was. “Their participation did not involve sex, the cheerleaders said, but they felt as if the arrangement amounted to ‘pimping us out.’”
Photo Caption: Brad Mills, USA TODAY
The concept of cheerleaders for professional football players is already a troubling and anachronistic perversion of the (sort of) wholesome concept of girls and young women wearing comparatively demure outfits, entertaining the game-day crowds and supporting the alma mater at high school and college games. In this era of #metoo and #timesup, the whole proposition is well past time for consideration of its propriety and viability.
But that’s assuming that the cheerleaders are only being asked to wear outfits they consent to and to perform dance routines during commercial breaks. What the Redskins appear to have done to their cheerleaders here crosses many lines, decency being first but surely not last.
The Washington Redskins are a creepy organization owned by a creep. This most recent story didn’t not make this fact any more apparent, but it certainly didn’t make it less apparent, either.