A group of former NFL cheerleaders filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] against the National Football League (NFL) on Wednesday over wages. The complaint states that the league underpaid them and prohibited cheerleaders on one team to compare wages with those of another team. The cheerleaders state that they were paid roughly $100 per game without any compensation for practices or photo ops. They compare this compensation in the complaint to the $6.4 billion paid to NFL players each year. The lawsuit also outlined that team mascots tend to earn between $25,000 and $60,000 per year with other benefits. The suit contends [AP report] that the NFL and its owners conspired, “with the purpose of reducing market competition among female athletes and thus ensuring female athlete earnings remained far below fair market value.” The lawsuit is seeking between $100 to $300 million in damages.
The NFL [JURIST materials] has been in the spotlight in the courtroom numerous times over the past few years. Last month the US Supreme Court declined to review [JURIST report] the NFL concussion settlement after an NFL representative admitted a connection [NYT materials] between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Since the discovery of CTE there has been a significant amount of controversy [JURIST op-ed] over what the NFL should do and how responsible they are for the disease. In April the Washington Redskins filed a petition [JURIST report] with the US Supreme Court asking it to review the ruling [opinion, PDF] that upheld the cancellation of the Redskins mark as disparaging. In 2010 the Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] that the NFL cannot be viewed as a single entity (with all its teams) for antitrust purposes.