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NFL cheerleaders reveal what it’s really like to have their job – Sports – Pulselive.co.ke

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  • Cheerleaders are a common sight in most NFL games, cheering on their teams from the sidelines and entertaining crowds during halftime.
  • But recent reports of harassment, lack of compensation, and discrimination have shed some light on the treatment of cheerleaders in the NFL.
  • Here’s what working as an NFL cheerleader is really like.

You’ve probably seen NFL cheerleaders on the sidelines, or maybe during halftime at NFL games. But have you ever wondered what their job is really like?

Recent reports of harassment, lack of compensation, and discrimination have shed some light on the treatment of cheerleaders in the NFL.

But to get a better idea of what the job is really like, Business Insider talked to four former NFL cheerleaders, who spoke candidly about the questions surrounding compensation, social media, and rules about interacting with players causing controversy throughout the league.

The women we talked to appear to have had overwhelmingly positive experiences during their time as cheerleaders.

Here’s what they said working as an NFL cheerleader is really like.

Most NFL teams have cheerleaders.


Most NFL teams have cheerleaders.play

Most NFL teams have cheerleaders.

(Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

You see them on the sidelines during games and sometimes during halftime.


You see them on the sidelines during games and sometimes during halftime.play

You see them on the sidelines during games and sometimes during halftime.

(Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Looks like they’re having fun, right?


Looks like they're having fun, right?play

Looks like they’re having fun, right?

(David J. Phillip/AP)

But recent reports of harassment, lack of compensation, and gender discrimination has shined a light on the treatment of cheerleaders in the NFL…


But recent reports of harassment, lack of compensation, and gender discrimination has shined a light on the treatment of cheerleaders in the NFL...play

But recent reports of harassment, lack of compensation, and gender discrimination has shined a light on the treatment of cheerleaders in the NFL…

(Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Source: The New York Times, USA Today, and The Guardian

…leading us to wonder what being an NFL cheerleader is really like.


...leading us to wonder what being an NFL cheerleader is really like.play

…leading us to wonder what being an NFL cheerleader is really like.

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

It all started back in 1954 when the Baltimore Colts became the first team to have cheerleaders.


It all started back in 1954 when the Baltimore Colts became the first team to have cheerleaders.play

It all started back in 1954 when the Baltimore Colts became the first team to have cheerleaders.

(AP)

Since then, getting a highly-coveted spot on the squad has become super competitive.


Since then, getting a highly-coveted spot on the squad has become super competitive.play

Since then, getting a highly-coveted spot on the squad has become super competitive.

(Pascal Rondeau /Allsport)

Every year, thousands of women audition for a spot on an NFL cheerleading squad.


Every year, thousands of women audition for a spot on an NFL cheerleading squad.play

Every year, thousands of women audition for a spot on an NFL cheerleading squad.

(Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

Some make it…


Some make it...play

Some make it…

(Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

…and many don’t.


...and many don't.play

…and many don’t.

(Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

A spot on the squad is a paid position and is officially considered to be part-time.


A spot on the squad is a paid position and is officially considered to be part-time.play

A spot on the squad is a paid position and is officially considered to be part-time.

(Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

And each NFL team gets to decide how much its cheerleaders are paid and what kind of guidelines and rules they must follow.


And each NFL team gets to decide how much its cheerleaders are paid and what kind of guidelines and rules they must follow.play

And each NFL team gets to decide how much its cheerleaders are paid and what kind of guidelines and rules they must follow.

(Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Not only do the cheerleaders have to be on-hand for each game…


Not only do the cheerleaders have to be on-hand for each game...play

Not only do the cheerleaders have to be on-hand for each game…

(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

…they also have to show up for mandatory appearances and practices.


Seattle Seahawks cheerleaders perform onstage during CBS Radio's The Night Before at US Airways Center on January 31, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.play

Seattle Seahawks cheerleaders perform onstage during CBS Radio’s The Night Before at US Airways Center on January 31, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.

(Maury Phillips/Getty Images for CBS Radio)

Source: Business Insider

But as it turns out, they’re not always getting properly compensated for their time and effort.


But as it turns out, they're not always getting properly compensated for their time and effort.play

But as it turns out, they’re not always getting properly compensated for their time and effort.

(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

In 2014, the Oakland Raiders paid a $1.25 million dollar settlement to former cheerleaders after a class action lawsuit alleging wage theft.


In 2014, the Oakland Raiders paid a $1.25 million dollar settlement to former cheerleaders after a class action lawsuit alleging wage theft.play

In 2014, the Oakland Raiders paid a $1.25 million dollar settlement to former cheerleaders after a class action lawsuit alleging wage theft.

(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Source: CBS Sports

Cheerleaders with the Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the New York Jets have also brought wage lawsuits against their teams.


Cheerleaders with the Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the New York Jets have also brought wage lawsuits against their teams.play

Cheerleaders with the Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the New York Jets have also brought wage lawsuits against their teams.

(Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Source: The New York Times

Some Cheerleaders in the NFL reportedly make between $75 and $150 a game and $50 an hour for special appearances, but the pay is not standardized across the industry.


Some Cheerleaders in the NFL reportedly make between $75 and $150 a game and $50 an hour for special appearances, but the pay is not standardized across the industry.play

Some Cheerleaders in the NFL reportedly make between $75 and $150 a game and $50 an hour for special appearances, but the pay is not standardized across the industry.

(Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Source: Time

Sharon Vinick, an attorney who worked on the 2014 class action lawsuit against the Raiders, said women felt intimidated to speak up for themselves.


Sharon Vinick, an attorney who worked on the 2014 class action lawsuit against the Raiders, said women felt intimidated to speak up for themselves.play

Sharon Vinick, an attorney who worked on the 2014 class action lawsuit against the Raiders, said women felt intimidated to speak up for themselves.

(Graham Flanagan/Business Insider)

“The women are told that they’re really, really fortunate to be dancing, and if they don’t want to dance, they don’t have to,” Vinick told Business Insider.


"The women are told that they're really, really fortunate to be dancing, and if they don't want to dance, they don't have to," Vinick told Business Insider.play

“The women are told that they’re really, really fortunate to be dancing, and if they don’t want to dance, they don’t have to,” Vinick told Business Insider.

(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

“But compare that to the guys who are the quarterbacks. I mean, they’re very lucky to be quarterbacks, but they’re still paid millions of dollars,” she said.


"But compare that to the guys who are the quarterbacks. I mean, they're very lucky to be quarterbacks, but they're still paid millions of dollars," she said.play

“But compare that to the guys who are the quarterbacks. I mean, they’re very lucky to be quarterbacks, but they’re still paid millions of dollars,” she said.

(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Twin sisters Dresdynn and Schuyler Warnell, who both cheered for the Houston Texans from 2010 to 2014, said they were paid about $200 a game, plus compensation for travel expenses, practices, and appearances.


Twin sisters Dresdynn and Schuyler Warnell, who both cheered for the Houston Texans from 2010 to 2014, said they were paid about $200 a game, plus compensation for travel expenses, practices, and appearances.play

Twin sisters Dresdynn and Schuyler Warnell, who both cheered for the Houston Texans from 2010 to 2014, said they were paid about $200 a game, plus compensation for travel expenses, practices, and appearances.

(Dave Einsel/AP)

They said overall they had a positive experience while on the Texans squad.


From left to right: Dresdynn and Schuyler Warnell.play

From left to right: Dresdynn and Schuyler Warnell.

(Graham Flanagan/Business Insider)

But their pay is more than the $1,250 Oakland Raider cheerleaders, known as Raiderettes, made a season.


But their pay is more than the $1,250 Oakland Raider cheerleaders, known as Raiderettes, made a season.play

But their pay is more than the $1,250 Oakland Raider cheerleaders, known as Raiderettes, made a season.

(Don Feria/Getty Images)

For comparison, Vinick said reports suggest that mascots make an estimated $40,000 to $60,000 per season, plus benefits.


For comparison, Vinick said reports suggest that mascots make an estimated $40,000 to $60,000 per season, plus benefits.play

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For comparison, Vinick said reports suggest that mascots make an estimated $40,000 to $60,000 per season, plus benefits.

(Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

And the least-played NFL team member, or a “benchwarmer” who doesn’t play in games, gets paid $100,000.


And the least-played NFL team member, or a "benchwarmer" who doesn't play in games, gets paid $100,000.play

And the least-played NFL team member, or a “benchwarmer” who doesn’t play in games, gets paid $100,000.

(Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

“$1,250 is less money than someone who’s selling hot dogs in the stands gets paid,” Vinick said.


"$1,250 is less money than someone who's selling hot dogs in the stands gets paid," Vinick said.play

“$1,250 is less money than someone who’s selling hot dogs in the stands gets paid,” Vinick said.

(Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

It’s definitely not a salary you can live off of, said Jennifer Omohundro who cheered for the Tennessee Titans before joining the Atlanta Falcons in the early 2000s.

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She said what she made was “definitely minimal,” but despite the low pay, cheering was “a wonderful experience” for her.


Omohundro cheering for the Tennessee Titans in 2001.play

Omohundro cheering for the Tennessee Titans in 2001.

(Scott Halleran/Allsport)

The same goes for Rachel Swartz, who cheered for the Philadelphia Eagles for the 2015 and 2016 seasons and found the experience to be “empowering.”


The same goes for Rachel Swartz, who cheered for the Philadelphia Eagles for the 2015 and 2016 seasons and found the experience to be "empowering."play

The same goes for Rachel Swartz, who cheered for the Philadelphia Eagles for the 2015 and 2016 seasons and found the experience to be “empowering.”

(Graham Flanagan/Business Insider)

“It is really unfortunate to hear a lot of the other stories about women who have not had the same positive experience I had,” Swartz said.


"It is really unfortunate to hear a lot of the other stories about women who have not had the same positive experience I had," Swartz said.play

“It is really unfortunate to hear a lot of the other stories about women who have not had the same positive experience I had,” Swartz said.

(Michael Perez/AP)

NFL cheerleading squads also have a number of rules to follow.


NFL cheerleading squads also have a number of rules to follow.play

NFL cheerleading squads also have a number of rules to follow.

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Strict social media restrictions are some of them.


Strict social media restrictions are some of them.play

Strict social media restrictions are some of them.

(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

So strict, in fact, that a former New Orleans Saints cheerleader was fired over an Instagram photo of her wearing a one-piece outfit.

Related content

Source: Business Insider

She’s now suing for discrimination, claiming that the male football players in the NFL aren’t held to the same standards that the female cheerleaders are.


She's now suing for discrimination, claiming that the male football players in the NFL aren't held to the same standards that the female cheerleaders are.play

She’s now suing for discrimination, claiming that the male football players in the NFL aren’t held to the same standards that the female cheerleaders are.

(Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Source: Business Insider

Swartz said she and her fellow Eagles cheerleaders did not have Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook accounts. “We weren’t allowed to have any of those, and that was mainly for our protection,” she said.


Swartz cheering for the Philadelphia Eagles.play

Swartz cheering for the Philadelphia Eagles.

(Matt Rourke/AP)

While the no social media rule is common, some teams, like the Denver Broncos, allow their cheerleaders to post from social media accounts officially affiliated with the team.


While the no social media rule is common, some teams, like the Denver Broncos, allow their cheerleaders to post from social media accounts officially affiliated with the team.play

While the no social media rule is common, some teams, like the Denver Broncos, allow their cheerleaders to post from social media accounts officially affiliated with the team.

(Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

One of the most common rules for NFL cheerleaders is that interaction with players is strictly prohibited, and violation of this rule can result in immediate termination.


One of the most common rules for NFL cheerleaders is that interaction with players is strictly prohibited, and violation of this rule can result in immediate termination.play

One of the most common rules for NFL cheerleaders is that interaction with players is strictly prohibited, and violation of this rule can result in immediate termination.

(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

“Even though they run past us on the field, sometimes that would be the only time we were really around them,” Omohundro said. “I mean, they’re professionals, they’re doing their thing as athletes, and we were doing ours.”


"Even though they run past us on the field, sometimes that would be the only time we were really around them," Omohundro said. "I mean, they're professionals, they're doing their thing as athletes, and we were doing ours."play

“Even though they run past us on the field, sometimes that would be the only time we were really around them,” Omohundro said. “I mean, they’re professionals, they’re doing their thing as athletes, and we were doing ours.”

(Nick Laham/Getty Images)

But off the field, the cheerleaders are required to maintain their distance from players.


But off the field, the cheerleaders are required to maintain their distance from players.play

But off the field, the cheerleaders are required to maintain their distance from players.

(Michael Steele/Getty Images)

“They would even go as far as saying if, say, you’re at a restaurant and a couple of the players come in, we would have to leave because they don’t even want us in the same room,” Dresdynn Warnell said.


"They would even go as far as saying if, say, you're at a restaurant and a couple of the players come in, we would have to leave because they don't even want us in the same room," Dresdynn Warnell said.play

“They would even go as far as saying if, say, you’re at a restaurant and a couple of the players come in, we would have to leave because they don’t even want us in the same room,” Dresdynn Warnell said.

(Elsa/Getty Images)

Source: The New York Times

“We will get fired and they won’t,” said Schuyler Warnell.


"We will get fired and they won't," said Schuyler Warnell.play

“We will get fired and they won’t,” said Schuyler Warnell.

(Graham Flanagan/Business Insider)

Some NFL cheerleaders said they were held to strict weight standards as well. Some said they were made to jump to see if their flesh jiggled or suspended if they were ever more than three pounds outside of their ideal weight.


Some NFL cheerleaders said they were held to strict weight standards as well. Some said they were made to jump to see if their flesh jiggled or suspended if they were ever more than three pounds outside of their ideal weight.play

Some NFL cheerleaders said they were held to strict weight standards as well. Some said they were made to jump to see if their flesh jiggled or suspended if they were ever more than three pounds outside of their ideal weight.

(Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Source: The Guardian and Business Insider

One former Houston Texans cheerleader sued the team after she said her coach called her “skinny fat” and duct taped parts of her skin during games to make her body appear firmer.

Related content

Rosa is involved in two lawsuits that also include claims that Houston Texans cheerleaders were not being paid minimum wage or overtime. Gary has since resigned.

Source: Fox 4 News and BBC

In addition to making appearances, cheerleaders are sometimes expected to interact with fans at games…


In addition to making appearances, cheerleaders are sometimes expected to interact with fans at games...play

In addition to making appearances, cheerleaders are sometimes expected to interact with fans at games…

(Al Bello/Getty Images)

…which can sometimes include unsavory encounters.


...which can sometimes include unsavory encounters.play

…which can sometimes include unsavory encounters.

(Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Source: The New York Times

Overall, the cheerleaders Business Insider spoke to said their teams did a good job of making sure they felt safe.


play

(Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

And, overall, the women we talked to seemed to have experiences that were overwhelmingly positive. “I really felt empowered by the entire experience,” Swartz said.


And, overall, the women we talked to seemed to have experiences that were overwhelmingly positive. "I really felt empowered by the entire experience," Swartz said.play

And, overall, the women we talked to seemed to have experiences that were overwhelmingly positive. “I really felt empowered by the entire experience,” Swartz said.

(AP)

But every team is different, and only time will tell if the ones under scrutiny will actually change for the better.


But every team is different, and only time will tell if the ones under scrutiny will actually change for the better.play

But every team is different, and only time will tell if the ones under scrutiny will actually change for the better.

(Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)



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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard

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Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.

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However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard

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President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health

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Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.

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Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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