bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Poor Raiders cheerleaders are crying foul

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I don’t know about you, but I really dislike the two-week gap between the NFL conference championship games and the Super Bowl. I assume there is some kind of point to it, like perhaps the league thinks that it helps build anticipation for the big event, but is it really necessary? I am pretty sure the anticipation would be there regardless. One of the main things I don’t like is that the first of those two weeks always seems to be a slow news week in sports. This week, the story I saw everywhere, aside from the continuing Richard Sherman saga, involved the cheerleaders for the Oakland Raiders and the lawsuit they have brought against the team for unfair labor practices. The whole thing seems so absurd.

There are necessary jobs and then there are unnecessary jobs. There are jobs that require special skills and there are jobs that don’t. I am pretty sure that the job of cheerleader for an NFL team falls into the latter of each of those categories. High school cheerleaders do all kinds of gymnastics. NFL cheerleaders wear skimpy outfits and jump around a lot. Sure, they have to look good in those outfits, but I imagine there is a long line of girls waiting to take the jobs if the incumbents don’t want them. I admit that I have never seen the actual contracts that the cheerleaders sign when they are hired by the Raiders, but I know that the total pay is $1250 per season. That is not the salary of a full-time job. It is barely a salary at all, really. That tells me that no one who has this job has it for the money.

The lawsuit alleges that if you consider the number of hours that each Raiderette spends working over the course of a season, the money works out to less than five dollars an hour, which would be less than California’s minimum wage. It also states that they have to cover their own hair styling costs, despite the actual styles being dictated by the team, and they have to cover their own travel to a variety of events that they are required to attend. Sure, this sounds like extremely low pay when you factor in all of those requirements, but I really don’t think that anyone who takes the job in the first place would expect anything else. The girls go through an extensive audition process, and they do it voluntarily. Everything about this job is voluntary in every way, from what I can see. If this is the whole livelihood of any of these girls, then they need to reevaluate their lives.

Is it just me? Do labor laws really apply here? If the club misrepresents any of this stuff when it does its hiring, then I can understand the concern and the legal action. I haven’t actually seen that stated, though. As long as they are upfront about the requirements and the pay, how can anyone suggest that the team is being unfair here? Again, we are not talking about a full-time job that could reasonably be expected to be someone’s main source of income. I know the cheerleaders are actual employees, and I guess the lawsuit may get somewhere based not on any breach of contract but based on the contract itself being on the wrong side of some California labor laws. Still, I really think it would be a mistake to consider this any kind of real job at all.

Bad sports, continued:

2) New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said this week that he does not plan to watch the Super Bowl. His team’s season is over, and so he’s done with football for now. I am not saying I can’t understand his point of view at all, but come on. You’re a professional football player and this is the Super Bowl, Tom.

3) A junior college football player who is headed to Florida State next season was arrested on Thursday for eating the pot he was holding when the car he was traveling in was pulled over by police in Florida. Making this story even better, the player’s name is Cinmeon (!) Bowers.

4) Vince Young, who was once a very high draft pick by the Tennessee Titans, filed for bankruptcy in Houston this week. No one who has followed his career will be surprised by this.

5) Remember Carlos Zambrano, the hothead pitcher who played for the Chicago Cubs for a long time? Being out of Major League Baseball has not mellowed him, it would appear. He was in the middle of a brawl during a game in the Venezuelan Winter League on Saturday. That guy is an idiot.

Good Sports:

1) A few weeks ago, a Duracell commercial starring Derrick Coleman, the deaf football player who plays for the Super-Bowl-bound Seattle Seahawks, went viral. This week, a young hearing-impaired girl wrote Coleman a letter about how he had inspired her and her sister, and her father tweeted a picture of it to the player. On Wednesday, he wrote his own letter in response and tweeted it back at her dad. This is a good guy and I wish the best for him and his career.

2) Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski won his 900th game at the school when his Blue Devils beat Florida State on Thursday. Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim is the only other coach to win 900 games at the same school.

3) Stanislas Wawrinka defeated Rafael Nadal in four sets to win the Australian Open, his first title in a Grand Slam tournament.

Bad sports, good sports appears every Monday

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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