Washington NFL team say it's concerned about cheerleader allegations

Alicia Farmer
May 4, 2018

The cheerleaders, who were required to sign confidentiality agreements when they joined the team, spoke on condition of anonymity. During the shoot, a group of team sponsors and suite holders - all men - were granted "up-close" access to the photo shoot.

In a front page story published Thursday, "five members of the squad" told The New York Times their passports were "confiscated" on their arrival, making them feel "unprotected". Although the selected women's duties did not involve sex, another told the Times they felt their squad was "pimping us out".

The report suggests some of the women involved in the topless shoot were left devastated by their treatment.

The women allege they were required to attend an event at a nightclub and act as escorts for male sponsors of the team.

Also, Stephanie Jojokian, the longtime director for the team's cheerleaders, denied numerous details in the report of the Costa Rica trip.

The Redskins released a statement in response to the story: "The Redskins' cheerleader program is one of the NFL's premier teams in participation, professionalism, and community service".

Redskins Team President Bruce Allen responded to the Times investigation in a statement on the team's site earlier today, saying that while management had "heard very different first-hand accounts that directly contradict numerous details of the May 2 article", the Redskins would be fully "looking into the situation".

A screen grab from the Redskins' website, which had some images from the cheerleaders' calendar photo shoot in 2013.

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You can read the entire piece over at the New York Times.

Outside of travel expenses, none of the cheerleaders were reportedly paid for their time on the shoot.

Neither Jojokian nor the team responded to NPR's request for comment and clarification about the cheerleaders' allegations.

'We're not asking them to admit fault, or to admit guilt, or even admit that there is anything wrong, ' Ms. Blackwell said in a phone interview.

The allegations come after another NFL cheerleader has accused the league of gender bias after being fired for violating the New Orleans Saints' social media policy. She said the night at the club was not mandatory and the cheerleaders weren't chosen by sponsors.

"I was not forcing anyone to go at all", Jojokian said, adding that the sponsors didn't pick the cheerleaders. "I'm the mama bear, and I actually look out for everyone, not simply the cheerleaders".

The NFL's franchises have a long history of treating players poorly when it suits the league, from denying disability claims to inconsistent discipline procedures. Their complaints cite discrimination and describe a controlling environment that also limits cheerleaders' ability to profit from their careers.

"It's a big family". "We will continue to take all necessary measure to create a safe and respectful work environment", he said in the statement.

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