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.