On May 2 the United States Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of a Texas high school cheerleader who was kicked off her squad for refusing to cheer for a basketball player accused of raping her weeks earlier.
About a dozen of us former NFL cheerleaders, standing on the sidelines, were stunned…
“There’s always been this idea that if you’re a cheerleader, you’re just there to decorate the sidelines for the benefit of male players and fans,” said Cheryl Duddy Schoenfeld, who cheered for the NFL for two years in the 1970s. “Well we’ve got news for anyone who believes in such nonsense. We are rallying behind this girl and her family and we are committed to doing what we can to make sure this never happens again—to any girl. If the school officials and courts won’t support her, we will. We are calling on all cheerleaders—NFL, college and high school, past and present—to step up and join us in this effort.”
The victim’s family has been ordered to pay $45,000 in costs to reimburse the school for having to defend against the lawsuit.
“Making the victim’s parents pay tens of thousands of dollars because they tried to protect their child is like sending a message to all cheerleaders that they had better stay quiet about things like sexual assault and dating violence,” said Bonnie Gardner-Drumm, an NFL cheerleader for five years in the early 1980s.
She calls the incident an outrage. “How hard would it have been for school officials to just let her stay silent? Ideally they should have forbidden the guy to play sports, but insisting that a young woman literally cheer for a man who abused her is its own form of abuse.”"