NFL Cheerleader Fired By Saints Over Instagram Photo Claims Gender Discrimination
A cheerleader who was fired by the New Orleans Saints in part because of photo she posted on Instagram is claiming gender discrimination by the team and by the NFL. Jacalyn Bailey Davis filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charging that female cheerleaders and male players are held to different standards of personal conduct. The complaint says that the rules for Saints cheerleaders include:
- Can't follow any players or coaches on social media.
- Must block any Saints player who follows them on social media.
- Can't contact players, respond to messages from them or "like" any of their social media photos.
- Must avoid making eye contact and move to the side if they see a player in the tunnel that leads into the stadium.
- Must leave a restaurant, bar or party if an NFL player is already there or arrives after them.
- Can't post any images of themselves in Saints gear.
Davis' complaint says the male players don't have the same restrictions, and are free to "like" photos of cheerleaders and often post shirtless photos. It cites an email from a Saints employee who says the cheerleaders' rules are meant to protect them, quote, "from player advances and activity that can be deemed suspicious." The Saints first warned Davis after hearing she went to a party where an NFL player was present, but she denied being there. The team also accused her of receiving messages from players on Instagram, which she admitted happened, but said she never responded. Davis agreed to change her Instagram to private to prevent players from finding her online, and then all Saints cheerleaders were asked to do it too. After that, Davis posted a photo on her private Instagram of herself in lingerie, which her bosses eventually saw, and she was fired.