New York - A
group of former cheerleaders from the Houston Texans suing the NFL
delivered a letter to its commissioner on Monday, demanding the league end
its exploitation of women and pay fairer wages.
Their lawyer Gloria Allred, who filed a case against the Texans on
Friday, told the media it was time for cheerleaders to get the respect
they deserved and for their salaries to be increased beyond minimum
"Women deserve respect and should be paid for the worth they
provide," she said, reading from the letter.
"The days when women would
accept any crumbs that men would give them are gone - enough is
Surrounded by four of the five women she is representing, Allred, who
previously represented the victims of disgraced TV icon Bill Cosby
during his assault trial, said she had given the NFL a week to respond.
In their lawsuit, the women say they were paid just $7.25 an hour for their work and were also subjected to harassment.
It was the latest legal action following similar suits by
cheerleaders from two other teams, the New Orleans Saints and the Miami
The issue came to the fore last month after The New York Times
reported that said members of the Washington Redskins cheerleading squad
who went on a weeklong trip to Costa Rica were pressured into taking
topless pictures for a calendar photo shoot - though the calendar did
not feature nude photographs.
Long a staple of American professional sports, some critics have
questioned whether the presence of scantily-clad women on the sidelines
of games is an anachronism in the #MeToo era.
Allred did not go that far, but suggested that mixed gender
cheerleading squads would go a long way toward improving work
"Usually, when men are in a profession, it brings things up," she said.