Minimum Wage as an NFL Cheerleader?

By: Madison Clabough

During this day and age, the topic of wage gaps has even reached NFL cheerleaders. While the Super Bowl racks up half a billion dollars in ad revenue, the cheapest tickets are being price-tagged at $3,600, cheerleaders are being put on the backburner when it comes to decent pay. NFL cheerleaders get paid around $1,200-$1,250 per season, not including any extra fees for the cost of appearance, uniform upkeep, and traveling that comes out of their pocket.

In 2014, a cheerleader for the Oakland Raiders football team filed a lawsuit against the team for wage theft. Because of this, the Oakland Raiders paid out a $1.25 million settlement and promised to pay at least minimum wage going forward. The Dallas Cowboys seem to be a fan favorite because of their cheerleaders. Their cheerleaders are paid a mere $150 per home game, equalling $1,200 per season. They also have mandatory practices 2-5 times per week during the season, and Thus, cheerleaders have to maintain a full-time job, be a full-time student, or a stay-at-home mom to even be eligible for the squad.

An NFL waterboy makes about $53,000 a year, and an NFL mascot makes about $25,000-$65,000 per year (plus retirement benefits). One San Francisco cheerleader claimed she earned $1,250 for the season, which is about $2.75 per hour. With an industry as lucrative as professional football, shouldn’t the fan faces of these teams be paid a decent wage?

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