Former New Orleans Saints cheerleader Bailey Davis has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that accuses the NFL team of having different rules for the team's cheerleaders and players, according to a report by the New York Times's Ken Belson.
Davis was fired from the team after the Saints claimed she violated rules by posting a photo of herself in a one-piece outfit on a private Instagram page in January. Saints cheerleaders are reportedly not allowed to appear nude, seminude or in lingerie in photos.
The New York Timesreviewed the Saints' handbook for cheerleaders and found a policy that cheerleaders must avoid contact with players in person or on social media. NFL players are not penalized for engaging with the cheerleaders if they pursue that interaction. Cheerleaders must block players on social media and can not post photos of themselves in Saints gear. Players are not required to do the same.
Belson also added: "Cheerleaders are told not to dine in the same restaurant as players, or speak to them in any detail. If a Saints cheerleader enters a restaurant and a player is already there, she must leave. If a cheerleader is in a restaurant and a player arrives afterward, she must leave."
The Saints say that the rules have been set in place to protect cheerleaders from players preying on them. The Times did not determine whether other cheerleading squads for other NFL teams have similar policies, but Davis's lawyer believes the Saints are not alone.
The Saints responded to The Times with a statement that said, "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.”