First its name was canceled, now its cheerleaders are following suit.
The NFL’s Washington Football Team decided to disband its cheerleading squad in favor of a more inclusive “co-ed entity,” BizPacReview reports.
This comes as part of a modernizing effort for the NFL franchise.
“With that comes inclusivity, diversity and in my mind, as an entertainer, athleticism. My desire is to create a team that is all of that – inclusive, diverse, coed, athletic – to set the gold standard in the NFL,” Petra Pope, the team’s newly hired senior adviser, said. “We’re looking for that super athlete that can dance, perform tricks and stunts and manipulate whatever props that will create a really great show.”
But, males are already part of several cheerleading teams.
The team’s now-fired cheerleaders will have the opportunity to apply for the anticipated 36 slots on the new dance squad, but are not guaranteed a spot.
Cheerleaders for the NFL Washington Franchise, who became known as the First Ladies of Football, originally began cheering in 1962, making them the longest-running group of cheerleaders in all of the league, according to BizPacReview.
But, all good things must come to an end, apparently.
According to an inside source, the new team format is supposedly unrelated to a sexual harassment settlement filed against the franchise by some of its cheerleaders.
“Former Washington Football Team cheerleaders who appeared in lewd videos that team employees secretly produced from outtakes of 2008 and 2010 swimsuit calendar shoots have reached confidential settlements with the team,” the Washington Post reported in February.
Around the same time of the settlement, the former Redskins announced it would temporarily pause offseason cheerleading activities. So, it comes as no surprise that cheerleading is being canceled altogether.