The Fairpayettes

Meanwhile, opportunities for losing money abounded. When one woman accidentally made contact with a Sharpie at a calendar signing and wasn’t able to bleach out the stain, Lacy says the woman was forced to reimburse the team for an expensive new top. If a Raiderette failed to bring her pompoms to practice or showed up late, among dozens of other infractions, she would be required to pay a fine of $10 to $125. But the biggest threat to the cheerleaders’ incomes came at weigh-ins. After practices, women were called in for one-on-one meetings with Thompson, who would point out problem areas on candid photographs, circling any suggestion of cellulite and identifying women who appeared to be “photographing heavy.” At one game, a woman on Lacy’s line was informed right before kickoff that she would be benched for the day without pay for her “weight issues.” Lacy’s line scrambled to reconfigure its routine to make up for the missing member.

For ESPN Magazine, Amanda Hess profiles Lacy T., the former NFL cheerleader who filed a fair pay lawsuit against the Oakland Raiders when she realized they weren’t paying minimum wage. As a Raiderette, Lacy earned a lump sum of $1,250 after the season, but “with fines for everything from forgetting pompoms to gaining weight, the handbook warned that it was entirely possible to ‘find yourself with no salary at all at the end of the season.’” Go read. [ESPN Mag]