Rams Fire Relief Fundraiser Generates Over $1.1 Million for United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ Disaster Relief Fund

 

Los Angeles, CA (November 16, 2018) — On Wednesday the Fire Relief Fund multi-platform fundraising event, hosted by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Rams, CBS 2 and KCAL 9, raised more than $1,173,905 for United Way’s Southern California Disaster Relief Fund. The Wednesday fundraiser will serve both immediate and critical long-term needs of economically vulnerable neighbors affected by recent fires. While phone lines are closed, funds are continuing to come in as individuals text 2018fires to 41444, log in to unitedwayla.org/2018fires and send in checks.

“The community came together in an unprecedented way Wednesday. From celebrities to event organizers to those who waited on the lines to donate whatever amount they could—many of whom have themselves been impacted by the fires—our community came together as one,” said Elise Buik, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles. “At least one donor tripled their pledge by the end of the night, volunteers stayed beyond their shifts and people are still reaching out from around the world to donate. Thanks to the incredible support of all those who have and will continue to join with us, we can help thousands of individuals and families rebuild their lives.”

Los Angeles Rams COO Kevin Demoff joined President and General Manager of CBS 2 and KCAL 9 Steve Mauldin to kick off the fundraiser. Throughout the day, Rams players including Jared Goff, Andrew Whitworth, Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers, Johnny Hekker, Brandin Cooks, Mark Barron and General Manager Les Snead made appearances on-air to offer support to the community.  Additionally, former Rams players Eric Dickerson, Jackie Slater, Vince Ferragamo, Harold Jackson and Greg Bell joined Los Angeles Rams cheerleaders and staff to answer phones.

“It has been inspiring to see our community come together after so much destruction to help our neighbors begin the long process of recovering and rebuilding,” said Kevin Demoff, COO of the Los Angeles Rams. “As our brave first responders continue fighting these fires and protecting our region, we are grateful to the generosity of all who contributed to helping those in greatest need.”

A number of celebrities made appearances and answered phones, including Alyssa Milano, Robin Thicke, Bob Odenkirk, Sharon Osbourne, Sheryl Underwood and Stephnie Weir. Others–including Britney Spears, Stephen Colbert, Mark Hamill, Dr. Phil, Adina Porter, Bob Odenkirk, Vivica A. Fox, Chris Martinez, LA Galaxy player Daniel Steres — voiced their support on Twitter and other social media channels. CBS Los Angeles tweeted a heartfelt video message from James Corden: “The devastation caused by the Woolsey and Hill Fires means we all have an opportunity and a calling to come together and help care for our neighbors. Already so many brave firefighters have risked their lives to stop the fires and so many Southern Californians have opened their hearts and homes to help. But this is going to be a long rebuilding process and we are only just beginning the fight.”

Corporate donors and individuals made pledges to the fund over the phone, on websites, social media and via text. Top pledges include: IBM, $125,000; JP Morgan Chase & Co., $125,000; Edison International, $100,000; Annenberg Foundation, $50,000; Dole Food Company, Inc., $50,000; 21st Century Fox, $25,000; Charlize Theron, $25,000; The Sikand Foundation, $15,000 and Pauley Perrette, $10,000. Anonymous pledges were also given in the amount of $175,000. Another generous pledge of $50,000 by City National Bank was received Thursday after the fundraiser ended.

One group of entertainment professionals came together to donate—Actor Barrett Foa, who appeared on the broadcast, sent a group text to the entire “NCIS: Los Angeles” cast and crew, who immediately responded with a $10,000 pledge.

“Everyone at CBS 2 and KCAL 9 was honored to participate in this fundraiser,” said Steve Mauldin, President and General Manager, CBS 2 and KCAL 9.  “We were deeply moved by how our employees, our partners at the United Way and Los Angeles Rams, and all the volunteers poured their hearts into this relief effort.  And it was gratifying to see our viewers respond the way they did. We are thankful for every donation.”

United Way of Greater Los Angeles extends immense gratitude to CBS 2, KCAL 9 and the Los Angeles Rams for their continued partnership. United Way also thanks the volunteers, organizations, and individuals who provided support at the event. While not an exhaustive list, these include:

  • Those who appeared on the broadcast, including Amy Johnson, Robin Thicke, Heather Tom, John McCook, Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby, Dole Food Company Director of Corporate Communications William Goldfield, Los Angeles Chargers Coach Anthony Lynn, Areva Martin, Kevin Frazier, Alyssa Milano, Milwaukee Brewers player Christian Yelich, Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenz, Bob Odenkirk, Los Angeles Laker Girls, Daniel Goddard, Sharon Osbourne, Sheryl Underwood, Adam Rodriguez, Stephnie Weir, Amber Stevens West, A.J. Buckley, Toni Trucks, Eric Braeden, Nita Landry, Sportscaster and Anchor Jim Hill, President of the Los Angeles Kings Luc Robitaille, California State Senator Henry Stern, Pauley Perrette, AEG President and CEO Dan Beckerman, Nischelle Turner, Los Angeles County CEO Sachi A. Hamai, Los Angeles Galaxy Player Daniel Steres, Patrick Fabian, Justin Melnick and Dita, Sandra Mitchell, Judge Michael Corriero, and Victor Williams.
  • Volunteers from organizations including AEG Worldwide, American Red Cross, California Highway Patrol, Deloitte, KPMG, LA Galaxy, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Scale Management, Sedgwick, Starbucks, United Airlines, United Steelworkers Local 675, Laborers’ Local 300 Union, United War Veterans Council, UTA, Utility Workers Union of America, and Valero.

“The United Way of Ventura County appreciates all the hard work and talent that went into this event to support those impacted in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties by these devastating fires,” said Eric Harrison, CEO, United Way of Ventura County.

United Way of Greater Los Angeles established the Southern California Disaster Relief Fund on November 9, to provide longer-term support to help the most vulnerable individuals and families affected by wildfires across Southern California. The fund was established in partnership with the United Way of Ventura County and United Ways of California and will be administered by United Way of Greater Los Angeles, which will allocate and distribute funds to support impacted counties. United Way of Greater Los Angeles committed to giving 25 percent of funds generated from the Fire Relief Funds event to the American Red Cross® to facilitate immediate relief efforts including shelter, meals, health services and comfort to those affected by the wildfires.

49ers Cheerleader Kneels for National Anthem

From the BBC:

A cheerleader for the San Francisco 49ers appeared to kneel during the US national anthem at an NFL game on Thursday, echoing recent player protests.

The woman, who has not been identified, was pictured kneeling before the team’s game against the Oakland Raiders.

The 49ers are the former team of Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the anthem as a protest back in 2016.

His aim was to highlight police brutality against African-Americans.

While the rest of the cheerleading squad held pom-poms aloft in unison during the Star-Spangled Banner, one woman knelt down and put her hands on her hips.

If confirmed, it would be the first time an NFL cheerleader has protested in this way, although five members of a college team in Georgia did so last year.

For context, there is a precedent for conduct with respect to the flag and this may help explain why kneeling for the national anthem in front of the national flag is considered controversial, even while trying to bring attention an important social cause.

The Flag Code covers all aspects of etiquette in relation to the Stars and Stripes, including how to behave when the anthem is played. The code is never enforced, however, and there is no punishment for breaching it.

The code states that persons present are expected to stand and face the flag, if there is one. Civilians should stand to attention with right hand over heart, while military personnel in uniform and veterans should salute throughout. A recent amendment to the code said that military personnel out of uniform could also salute.

Controversial?  Appropriate or inappropriate?  You decide.

Male Cheerleaders Set To Make NFL History in 2018

By Ralph Warner, NFL.com
Published: Aug. 6, 2018 at 07:24 p.m.

The 2018 season is still 31 days away, but it’s already shaping up to be a historic one. For the first time in NFL history, there will be male cheerleaders on the sidelines.

Napoleon Jinnies and Quinton Peron will be cheering on the Rams cheerleading squad. The Saints will have a male cheerleader on their cheer team, too. Jesse Hernandez, a 25-year-old male dancer who made the Saintsations, said he was inspired by Peron and Jinnies.

“My mom had sent me a link about the L.A. Rams cheerleaders that just had made the team a couple weeks ago,” Hernandez told KATC in April. “She told me that it was my time to shine.”

Cheerleading has been a part of the NFL since 1954 when the Baltimore Colts added a cheer squad to their marching band. Today, 26 of the 32 teams in the NFL have official cheerleading squads.

NFL Alumni Partners with The National Football Cheerleaders Alumni Organization

Mount Laurel, New Jersey (August 9, 2018)– NFL Alumni (NFLA) today announced a partnership with the National Football Cheerleaders Alumni Organization (NFCAO), which is a group of 14,000 former NFL team cheerleaders around the country. This partnership will increase membership, sponsorship and brand awareness for the NFCAO and overall benefit both organizations.

The National Football Cheerleaders Alumni Organization’s mission is to enable former NFL cheerleaders to connect, contribute to local and national charities, and support fellow alumni. NFCAO’s motto is “United and Forever Strong.”

“The National Football Cheerleaders Alumni Organization is proud to be an official partner to NFL Alumni,” says NFCAO Co-Founder and President Terri Crane-Lamb. “Together we will make a difference in our communities by continuing to support charities and NFL Alumni in need.”

The NFL cheerleaders group was formed in 2009 while NFL Alumni was organized in 1967.

“We are pleased to partner with the National Football Cheerleaders Alumni Organization,” says NFL Alumni CEO Elvis Gooden. “One of our priorities is to align local NFCAO chapters with our own local NFL Alumni groups. This will provide increased access and continuing opportunities to the terrific cheerleaders who have supported the 32 NFL teams over the years.”

NFL Alumni looks forward to creating a synergistic team with the National Football Cheerleaders Alumni Organization.

About NFL Alumni

NFL Alumni was founded in 1967 and is the oldest and most recognizable national organization of retired professional athletes. NFL Alumni consists of former NFL players, coaches, executives, spouses, cheerleaders, and associate members.  NFL Alumni’s mission “Caring for our Own” is to serve, assist and inform its members and their families. NFL Alumni offers a wide array of medical, financial and business programs to help members lead healthy, productive and successful lives.  NFL Alumni also promotes the post-playing careers of its members and it also contributes to local community initiatives under its “Caring for Kids” programs. Pro Football Legends is the commercial marketing name and logo of NFL Alumni.

For more information please visit: www.nflalumni.org

About The National Football Cheerleaders Alumni Organization

The National Football Cheerleaders Alumni Organization (NFCAO) was founded in 2009 by Terri Crane-Lamb, President, Washington Redskins Cheerleaders Alumni and Mickey Crawford-Carnegie, Director, Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders Alumni. The NFCAO is a non-profit 501(c)(7) organization comprised of former NFL Cheerleaders Alumni chapters and is the only official alumni organization for retired NFL Cheerleaders. The NFCAO invites all former NFL cheerleaders to join their NFCAO cheerleaders alumni Chapter to help support local and national charity efforts and participate in social events. NFL Alumni Cheerleaders can become an official member and part of the NFCAO database by joining their team’s cheerleader Chapter.

For more information, please visit: www.nationalfootballcheerleadersalumni.com.

Galactic Dancers at the Battle of Cologne XV

Michael Fischer, our European Correspondent, has sent us some news and photos regarding the state of German Cheerleading.
 
This season, the Galactic Dancers (headed by Tamara Kurti) have gotten support from former U.S. pro cheerleader and model Christine Lynn C. from Honolulu.
 
 

Christine studied Fine Arts at the California State University at Los Angeles and has lived in Chicago.  She danced with the NBA Chicago Luvabulls Dancers and she was selected as Mrs Waikiki 2016 and 2017.  Christine lives with her family in Heidelberg Germany, near the U.S Army Base and she drives to the Galactic Dancers training session from Heidelberg to Frankfurt Main, a long drive, every week.
 
 
This month Christine and the Galactic girls visited Düsseldorf for cheerleader performances on a big party ship along the Rhein River.  These performances were the highlight of the NFL Europa Fans memorial weekend – Battle of Cologne XV.  Tickets were sold out some months ago and some American Football Fans disguised themselves as pirates.
 
 
The ship sailed from Düsseldorf to Cologne and back, 9 hours of non-stop partying on deck.  In the middle of the crowd the cheerleaders. During the breaks between performances, the Galactic Dancers took some selfies and posed with some of the fans for a group shot.
 
 
Cheers,
Michael
 
For the latest information regarding the German cheerleader scene, check out Michael’s facebook page, “Don´t call it Puschel
 

In Defense of Cheerleaders and Cheerleading

As a general rule, UltimateCheerleaders.com does not publish negative or controversial articles on professional cheerleading.  We know the lengths that these teams and their directors have gone to create a positive image and to become a source of pride and goodwill for the billion dollar organizations that they represent.  Recently, however, professional cheerleading has come under some scrutiny for some unflattering and negative publicity that threatens the existence of the endeavor, if some pundits get their wish.  In light of these recent events, Lara Travis, a former professional cheerleader for the Tennessee Titans and guest commentator for web site Outkick The Coverage, posted a thoughtful treatise on the topic, entitled In Defense of Cheerleaders and Cheerleading.

Here are a few excepts:

“In a former life, before three children and a husband who requires the care of a toddler, I was an NFL Cheerleader. That’s why recent attacks on cheerleading from many media outlets have struck me as particularly ill-suited; unlike the people writing the articles I’ve actually been on an NFL cheerleading squad and know exactly what the experience is like. And the truth is this, for the vast, vast majority of us, it’s a tremendous way to pursue our interests in competitive dance, team camaraderie and community involvement all while getting a front row seat to the best football in the country.”

“Over the past couple of weeks I have read several articles and watched the media cover stories about former NFL cheerleaders filing complaints against their former cheer organizations. I’ve thought a great deal about my own experiences, and talked with former teammates, both from college and the NFL…For whatever reason the mainstream media has decided to attack cheerleading and in so doing they are focusing on a small minority of girls who have had poor experiences and excluding the vast majority who loved every minute of being an NFL cheerleader.”

“One of these consistent story angles focuses on how cheerleaders are expected to maintain a certain weight or not allowed to change their hair. Really, this surprises you? This is professional performance. Maybe this does not seem crazy to me because I am familiar with the dance and performance world, but when someone tries out for a dance gig, and makes the cut, she or he is expected to look the same way throughout the performance season that they did when they tried out. No one forces extreme diets or eating disorders on the participants. This goes for hair, gaining or losing weight, piercings and tattoos, the entire make up of someone’s look goes in to a tryout selection – whether for dance, acting, modeling, singing, or any other type of performance role. This is not controversial, it is an integral part of the entertainment industry.”

“One of the consistent story angles also deals with the low pay. “But they are only paid $50 (or insert amount) a game!” these critiques typically argue. Yep, and all the women knew that when they tried out. In my own experience and those of everyone I’ve known or talked to, the actual pay is made very clear when you try out. When you read or hear how much money you will make for games and appearances, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to try out.”

“The attempt to compare cheerleader pay to the football player pay is ridiculous. There certainly is not a “gender pay gap” here. The two jobs are completely different and not even in the same stratosphere. One is a full time career, insanely dangerous and demanding, and drives the economics for a multi billion dollar industry. The other is football (ha ha. I couldn’t resist.)”

“When someone from USA Today says she thinks dance team, cheerleading, and especially NFL cheerleading should cease to exist because it is just fluff and eye candy for men, I know it’s an outdated and antiquated perspective rooted in dishonesty. First, because this seems to imply that the women who are part of these teams do not have the intelligence to think through their decision to be there. That they are being brainwashed by the wants and desires of men, and need to be saved from their own poor decision making to be cheerleaders, and the way to do this is to abolish the sport altogether. Furthermore that the revealing uniforms are demeaning to them, and there is no way a woman in her right mind would want to wear that. How insulting. And by the way, is there a problem with women looking good in skimpy clothes now? Is it 1950? If a woman feels good about how she looks can she not wear whatever she likes? Have you been to a beach lately? Women’s equality is about all women making the choices they deem the best, it isn’t about one woman telling another woman what she should be allowed to do.”

I applaud Ms. Travis for sharing with us her perspective and personal experience of being a former professional cheerleader.  To read the full article, please click here.  And check out the comments section in the article for some additional perspectives from some former professional cheerleaders.

On a personal note, in my experiences covering professional cheerleading, I am constantly in awe at all the impressive women trying out for these positions and the amazing directors and their assistants, who make professional cheerleading a positive experience for all sports fans.