As if the Oakland Raiders needed any more bad press after their second consecutive 4-12 season, the team is now being sued by its cheerleaders.
Current and former Raiderettes, as they are known, have filed a lawsuit claiming wage theft and other unfair employment practices, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
Perhaps the most frightening claim of all is that the team withholds pay from the cheerleaders until the end of the season, when they are paid their annual salary of $1,250. Taking into account practices, games and other events that the cheerleaders must attend, that comes out to a shockingly low $5 per hour.
"It's as if the Raiders' owners believe that the laws that protect all workers in California just don't apply to them," attorney Sharon Vinick said, via the Mercury News report.
But it doesn't stop there.
The Raiderettes, according to Vinick, are fined for infractions such as showing up with the wrong pom-poms or forgetting to bring a yoga mat to practice. Lacy T., the lead plaintiff, also noted the cheerleaders must cover their own business expenses, including travel costs and photo shoots.
As far as damages, the lawsuit seeks to repay "tens of thousands of dollars" to former cheerleaders and "thousands of dollars" to those who worked in 2013.
This news comes on the heels of a Change.org petition submitted by NFL cheerleaders claiming they make as little as $150 per game while NFL mascots earn up to $65,000 a year—which would be an astounding 52 times as much as the Raiderettes claim to earn annually.
"Being an NFL cheerleader isn’t just a hobby," states the petition, which has over 27,000 virtual signatures. "The selection process for the few slots on each squad is competitive, and each member is required to have highly specialized dance and athletic skills."
If these claims are true, they are quite shocking.
Even if cheerleaders brought nothing to the game-day experience or didn't work off the field—neither of which are true—they would still deserve to be paid reasonably for their time, and it sounds as though that isn't remotely the case.
According to the Mercury News report, the Raiders have no comment on the lawsuit at this time.