Washington will not have cheerleaders for the first time since the NFL’s longest-running cheerleading team was founded in 1962, with a coed dance team taking its place.
The move is part of the organization’s rebranding effort and not related to a confidential settlement reached with members of the 2008 and 2010 cheerleading teams. Lawyers for the team and those cheerleaders told The Associated Press last month that “the matter has been resolved” but would not say when the settlement was reached.
Former Laker Girl manager Petra Pope was hired Wednesday as an adviser to use her three-plus decades of NBA experience to revamp the group.
“I’ve been asked to create a more modern entertainment team that is inclusive and diverse,” Pope said in a phone interview. “We just want to follow that mode of being more modern and a more modern franchise. Change is difficult, but I do feel that the fans will love what we bring to the table.”
The “First Ladies of Football” program was put on pause after last season unrelated to allegations of team employees making inappropriate videos from calendar photo shoots of previous members in prior years. Washington on Monday made Joey Colby-Begovich vice president of gameday experience, and Pope will be in charge of forming and naming the new dance team.
The contracts of previous members of the cheerleading team expired, Pope confirmed, though she said they’re able to try out for the 2021 group “as long as they have that athletic skillset. I have no idea who the former dancers were, so I don’t know them, so everyone’s welcome to audition.”
Pope said she’s convinced owner Dan Snyder and wife Tanya “are committed to bringing this team to a more modern level.” Snyder vowed last summer to change the culture of the team in light of allegations of workplace sexual harassment made by former employees, which prompted an independent investigation that the NFL took over.
In his comments at the Super Bowl, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “The Washington football club has made a lot of changes already.” That included the hiring of Jason Wright as team president.
This is another change, which Pope said is expected to be in place for next season. Wright has said he expects “Washington Football Team” to continue for 2021 with a new, permanent name to be ready in 2022.
Pope, who worked 14 years for the NBA’s New York Knicks in addition to her Los Angeles Lakers experience, said she’s the “new kid on the block” in the big picture of the name change and will concentrate on the dancer element of the rebrand.
“My focus is really just reinventing this team,” she said. “My goal is to create this team, reinvent this team and make it more modern.”
This video was produced by Studio 10, an Australian morning talk show on Network 10, and features a nice interview with Monique Carroll, the director of the Parramatta Eels and the Manly Seabirds Cheerleaders.
Editor’s note: More bad news for professional cheerleading. The NRL has been eliminating professional cheerleading squads recently in the name of political correctness. Unfortunately, NRL cheerleading has lost at least five squads and others have been rebranded to reflect current social norms.
More than 50 years of tradition has been scrapped with the Parramatta Eels the latest NRL club to ditch cheerleaders as part of their game day entertainment.
The Parramatta Eels have scrapped 50 years of tradition by dumping their NRL cheerleaders.
The club has based its decision on their “game-day entertainment priorities” in a move that has left the cheergirls shattered on the eve of the season.
Parramatta’s cheerleaders are among the longest serving in rugby league, starting back in the 1970s when they were known as the Cumberland Cowgirls.
“We’re all devastated,” says Monique Carroll, wife of Mark ‘Spudd’ Carroll, who is a dance teacher and choreographer who heads up the Eels’ cheerleaders.
“We accept the decision and we understand that many have been affected by COVID and reduced budgets but it’s really upsetting for the girls.
“They were really invested in the club. The fans will be devastated too. We receive so much support.”
The Eels had a squad of 30 girls who have now lost their weekend work.
A Parramatta spokesman issued a statement on Saturday. “Upon review of our game day and fan engagement initiatives, the Eels have made the decision not to have a formalised Cheerleader program,” it said.
“The Club has made this decision based on its game day entertainment priorities and the uncertainty regarding on-field entertainment protocols in the current COVID environment.
“We want to thank all our cheerleader participants for their contribution to the Club.”
To improve pre-game entertainment and value for fans, the NRL is looking at reintroducing three grades of football on game days this season.
But the colour and spectacle cheerleaders provide has been a part of rugby league tradition since the mid-70s.
Five clubs have now ditched the girls in recent years — the Eels, Rabbitohs, Warriors, Titans and Raiders.
Hollywood star Russell Crowe caused a storm back in 2009 when he sacked the cheer leaders when he bought the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
“The focus on game day should be a positive experience for the crowd,” Crowe said at the time.
“We feel they (cheerleaders) made a lot of people uncomfortable. We’ve talked to a lot of people and everyone sees it as being progressive.”
The operation has been heavily scrutinized with a group of former cheerleaders filing a lawsuit against the team for unauthorized videos filmed by the team. Additionally, a 2013 photo shoot in Costa Rica allegedly had male sponsors of the team invited to attend as cheerleaders had their pictures taken in various levels of undress.
The Washington Football Team has dismissed director Jamilla Keene from her position running the unit.
“The time is right to reimagine our entire gameday experience to reinvent it in a way that reflects our modern identity and aligns with what today’s fan seeks. Coach Rivera has done an incredible job on the field. We will elevate our off-the-field product to match,” team president Jason Wright said in a statement on Monday.
The team has hired Code and Theory to help with their rebranding efforts.
The NFL is nearing the completion of an investigation of sexual harassment allegations into the team that led to the dismissal of three member of the front office, Alex Santos, Richard Mann III and play-by-play voice Larry Michael last summer.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots are in mourning today after learning that Tracy Sormanti, the team’s longtime cheerleading director, passed away on Friday, Dec. 4, after a three-year battle with multiple myeloma. Sormanti, just 58 years old, was in her 32nd season of service with the Patriots organization.
“We are grieving the loss of a beloved member of our family today,” said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. “Tracy Sormanti was one of my first hires after I bought the team, and after nearly three decades, I can confidently say that there was no one more dedicated to her job or caring and compassionate about those she coached. Like all great coaches, she was meticulous in her preparation and brought the best out of her squads. We have had the good fortune of having some of the greatest coaches in NFL history grace our sidelines, but none did so with such dignity and grace like Tracy. She earned my utmost respect and admiration for the way her teams always performed, not just on the sidelines, but more importantly as Patriots goodwill ambassadors in our New England communities and on the many Patriots USO military tours she coordinated around the world. She truly loved this organization and we loved her. Her presence will be greatly missed, but she will never be forgotten.”
Sormanti, a Rhode Island native, first joined the organization in 1983 as a Patriots cheerleader. She was a member of the Patriots cheerleading squad from 1983-84 and again from 1991-93, concluding her cheerleading career by representing the Patriots at the 1993 Pro Bowl. Shortly after Kraft bought the team in 1994, he named Sormanti the cheerleading director.
Over the past 27 seasons, Sormanti’s squads have performed at 10 Super Bowls, visited more than 30 countries and two dozen foreign operating bases on military tours, and made thousands of community appearances. As the Patriots’ on-field successes multiplied over the years, so too did interest in the Patriots Cheerleaders program. Sormanti developed an intense “bootcamp” audition process – which included everything from dance, to public speaking, to exams on the rules of football and Patriots history – and attracted hundreds of potential cheerleaders annually. She also created the Patriots Junior Cheerleaders program and a partnership with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute that raised more than $400,000 for cancer research through the clinics she hosted.
As director, Sormanti shaped the Patriots Cheerleaders program through her own core values: commitment, dedication, accountability, responsibility and a positive attitude. Her tenure was defined by her commitment to the community above all. She developed a program that taught incoming cheerleaders how to be goodwill ambassadors for the organization and placed as much of an emphasis on community service and engagement as on excellence in dance and cheer skills.
Despite facing grueling cancer treatments for the last three years, Sormanti continued to keep a daily presence at Gillette Stadium. She rarely missed a game or a practice and took great pride in seeing her squad perform on game day. However, her greatest joy came from seeing her cheerleaders accomplish their goals off the field, and she was very proud to assemble squads of not only dancers, but doctors, teachers, entrepreneurs and public servants.
In 2019, when asked what she hoped her legacy would be, she remarked: “That I’ve made a difference in the lives of the ladies and men who were on this team… and that they’ve learned some valuable life lesson because of a coach that they had in their life.”
Sormanti leaves behind her longtime companion, Dennis M. Brolin, her sister, Terri Ford, brother, Timothy Madden, five nieces and a nephew, and hundreds of former Patriots cheerleaders who grew to love her as much more than a coach. Funeral arrangements will be handled by Thomas & Walter Quinn Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, Sormanti has requested that donations be made in her memory to the MSPCA-Angell Animal Care and Adoption Center.
The league’s decision is the latest precaution taken under the joint NFL and NFLPA protocols. Network sideline reporters and pregame TV reporters will also not be allowed on the field in 2020, per NFL Network.
The NFL is still planning to begin the regular season on time despite the COVID-19 crisis, but the league will not be holding any preseason games ahead of opening night on Sept. 10. The Chiefs are slated to host the Texans at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, though the stadium will only be open to 22% of its capacity, per a team press release. The 22% mark accounts for around 16,000 fans.
“As the season progresses, the club will follow the guidance of local officials and public health experts, with the potential that local regulations will allow for different capacities at different points during the season,” Kansas City said in a press release. “Future on-sale dates and details will be communicated once confirmed throughout the season.”
The Giants and Jets are among teams that will not permit fans in the stands in 2020. The Patriots are not allowing fans through September.
Our friends over at Sideline Prep have passed along some information regarding an exciting opportunity.
Ever thought about working in a different country? Have a passion for dance? Love making a difference in children’s lives?
If you’ve answered yes to all three of these questions, let’s take your career to the next level!
CheeRing International is an organization that is located in Tokyo, Japan and they are looking to add passionate people to their team. You’ll be able to experience the Japanese culture while doing what you love… dancing, cheering and inspiring others through movement!
By the way, CheeRing International is the same company that we have partnered with for over six years to launch our Sideline Prep – Japan Division!
If you’re interested in this life changing experience? Please send them an email and your resume to at email@example.com
They are looking for an enthusiastic dance teacher to foster and facilitate the intellectual and social development of the children. Teaching dance in English includes planning, implementing and assessing lessons. You will teach children with patience and creativity. Dance Teacher duties include designing a teaching plan and using activities and instructional methods to motivate children.
Design and follow a complete teaching plan
Teach alphabet and numeracy (in English) along with personal, social and emotional skills
Organize learning material and resources
Use a variety of activities and instructional methods (songs, stories, media, structured games, basic movements etc) to motivate and stimulate children’s abilities
Maintain an open line of communication with students and provide appropriate information
Assess students performance and progress to ensure they are mastering the skills on regular basis
Monitor children’s interactions and nurture cooperation and sharing
Cooperate with administration staff
Create fun choreography
Follow and comply with teaching standards and safety regulations
Proven working experience as a Dance Teacher, Dance Teacher Assistant or Teacher Aide
Excellent knowledge of child development and latest education theories and practices
Creative and artistic teaching abilities
Teaching and organization skills
Patience and flexibility
Strong communication skills
Keep abreast with the latest trends and best practices
Passion for dance
Able to adapt to last minute changes
BS degree in education or relevant work experience
If this sounds like something you may be interested in, please be sure to contact Maki via email with your resume at firstname.lastname@example.org
Best of luck!
Cheers & Love,
CEO & President, Sideline Prep
11-year Professional Cheerleader/Dancer for the NFL/NBA
8-year Washington Redskins Cheerleader – 4-year Captain, Pro Bowl Cheerleader, 2-time Swimsuit Cover Model, 3-time Director’s Choice Award Recipient, 2-time Outstanding Leadership & Choreography Award Recipient, Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
3-year Washington Wizard Girl, 2-year Captain, 2-time Most Valuable Wizard Girl Recipient, Wizard Girl Community StarFormer In-Arena Host, Washington Wizards – NBA & Washington Mystics – WNBA
Join our PREP to PRO Facebook Community!
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We will discuss, inspire, and learn from one another, but most importantly, share our experiences, knowledge, and LOVE with each other.
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Mhkeeba invites Black former professional cheerleaders to share their experiences dealing with racial inequities and microaggressions while cheering in the NFL and what changes need to be made in the professional cheerleading community for people of color.
Business Insider, a publication known more for publishing business or tech related news stories, has a more lifestyle oriented YouTube channel and they recently published a video on what it takes to be a Golden State Warriors Dancer.