Posted January 27, 2014

L.A. Times reveals the Oakland Raiders’ incredibly sexist cheerleader handbook

News
The Raiderettes (Photo: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The Raiderettes (Photo: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

In the mood to read something sexist, patronizing and cringe-worthy on all fronts? Yes? Great. Look no further than the Oakland Raiders’ secret handbook for their cheerleaders, the Raiderettes. The Los Angeles Times has discovered and it, and it really harkens back to the “don’t speak unless you’re spoken to” days of women’s rights.

First, some background: The Raiders cheerleaders are filing a suit against the team for “illegal provisions” in the Raiderette contracts — for example, the cheerleaders aren’t paid any portion of their salary until after the season ends in January, even though they’re working from April to December. The Raiders also don’t pay for time put into practices or rehearsals — strictly only for game days — nor do they pay by the hour. When adding the amount of time put in by the Raiderettes throughout the entire season, the estimated total of hourly wages comes out to less than $5 per hour. More insight into those troubling claims can be seen in the video below:

Now, in addition to those allegations, the Times has added another punch: a top secret handbook that teaches proper etiquette and guidance to the Raiderettes, one stereotype at a time. Here are some lowlights from the findings.

Really important dining tips: “Gently unfold your napkin and place it on your lap. Fold it almost in half and place it with the fold side towards your body. If you need to leave the table, place the napkin on your chair, and don’t forget to say, ‘Excuse me.’”

Make sure your nails look pretty!: “Think about the last time you met someone for the first time. You probably looked at their hair, jewelry, facial expressions, style of clothes, shoes and nails … Keep nail polish pads in your car for emergencies.”

Some thoughtful advice on cheerleader-player relations: “There have been a few relationships between the [club players or personnel and Raiderettes] that have resulted in a few happy marriages and lovely children. HOWEVER, we have also had more situations where, quite frankly, the Raider organization and the Raiderettes narrowly escaped ruined reputations.”

“One such example concerns a player who gave Halloween parties every year and many of the Raiderettes attended. This same player was suspended from the team for drug use but also arrested for date rape. For you on the squad who have attended those parties, just think how narrowly you missed having your photo in all the local papers and/or being assaulted.”

Longing for more words of wisdom? Make sure to give the Times‘ article a full read.

16 comments
MadDoser
MadDoser

Ive got a solution:  Get a different job!!  This is a job where you are paid by the gig (like being in a band).  If these girls who are filing the lawsuit just quit I guarantee they would have more girls begging to take this gig. 

fmfrijoles
fmfrijoles

OK....the 1st 2 comments are standard manners & hygiene and the other 2 are obvious indicators toward the non-fraternization rule in the NFL between players and cheerleaders during the season.


I'm sure there are more sexist things in there or the handbook is from the 50-60s and hasn't been updated.But the ones cited in the article are really no big whoop as they are more common sense than out right imposing gender roles.

CasinoGal
CasinoGal

What exactly is sexist about telling these women to show good table manners and look presentable? They're hired because they look good. Geez, some people are offended by everything.

TheHip1
TheHip1

Performance  gigs are  NOT hourly jobs! Stop trying to calculate their pay that way! You are paid 'per performance', you are not paid per rehearsal. As a cheerleader you are paid $125 per game (10 home games a year), you get to be at the game on the sideline, you get to be on tv. That's the job, take it or go dance on the pole.

yummypeaches
yummypeaches

Smell the glove ! Whats wrong with sexy ; ) 

topfuelkevin
topfuelkevin

I agree the pay stinks but if it's such a bad gig then why do they want to do it. I doubt they were kidnapped off the street and forced to be Raiderettes.

tconom
tconom

I see everyone is avoiding commenting on this one like the plague. My thoughts are that I don't see anything really sexist here. I've been in groups (male) where the same type of advice has been given in terms of our behavior where our public actions reflect on an organization. I wasn't offended..in fact, I learned how to carry myself in an improved fashion that helped me during the years that followed. Rules that are close to or over the top imo are ones like the (NY Yankees?) that don't permit  beards on any of their players..but their objective, I think, is the same as I described above. For the record...there is one thing I strenuously object to and that is this business of giving these women approximately $3.00 an hour for quality performances that take time, effort, and discipline to bring off. We see a lot of that these days...how about college athletes that bring in millions of dollars for both the colleges and coaches..all in return for tuition/free education...which, I think, is suspect at times. These young men and women should be compensated in a reasonable manner. 

9yanks7
9yanks7

@topfuelkevin   Since we're talking about the raiders I wouldn't rule kidnapping out.

tconom
tconom

@topfuelkevin Good point, top fuel. I think they do it because it's fun and provides some 'celebrity' status. Still, I don't think one should be punished just because they really enjoy their work. Within reason of course...its not as though the Raiders would be scraping the bottom of their coffers if they gave the women some kind of reasonable compensation. imo of course. 

tconom
tconom

Just to keep this "Fair and Balanced", I think I see the other side of the coin...once the cheer leaders are acknowledged with some normal level of pay, there will be a day not too far down that path where they may demand benefits, sick leave, vacation, ObamaCare, and cost of livng increases...nothing is simply these days.

arby
arby

@tconomIf you are going to pay them for their play, then they no longer get scholarships and they should be required to pay for their own tuition.  Some of these athletes are getting $50,000 to $100,000 per year in free education.  That includes tutors as needed, if they ask for it.  The problem isn't in not paying them, it is maintaining an academic standard appropriate for a university.  The NFL and NBA need to come up with their own version of farm clubs instead of using the university system to do it for them.

Tank
Tank

@ tconom, how are they being punished? they volunteered to be cheerleader because they love stage or atmosphere that it offers them. It's the folly of thinking that you can do something you love and make a ton of money doing it. If they're doing it coz they're passionate about cheer-leading good for them. Otherwise find something else. 

JimStumbo
JimStumbo

@tconom And then will come the lawsuits for injured legs because the teams hid the risks of being a cheerleader.

tconom
tconom

@arby@tconomAloha Arby~ I agree with the general path of your described solutions but one of my children recently completed a university education on a Division 1 NCAA athletic scholarship and trust me, its hardly the peaches and cream you describe. In a truly competitive program, say a ranked school (top 25), the athletes pay dearly for this tuition. (your point is well taken as to academic standards).

JimStumbo
JimStumbo

@tconom @Tank The players also only get a "game" check.  They do not get practice checks.  They get paid for the game.  The cheerleaders get paid for the game, not for their practice time.

tconom
tconom

@TankWow, you must have had a bad day....or I can only guess you're injecting some humor into this (modest) discussion. If you truly think you cannot do well financially by engaging something you love, your thoughts must have been conditioned from too much time in on of the Siberian gulags. ;-)  (or our progressive government...but I digress). Just to humor you...if the Raiderettes did one performance as a special presentation, then it could be construed as gratis, but the Raiders and other pro teams revenues are enhanced considerable, some fans coming primarily to enjoy their shows. C'mon, Tank, keep a positive attitude and things will look better tomorrow.