Amazing site of the day: Science Cheerleader was founded by Dana Cavalier, former Philadelphia 76ers Cheerleader turned science advocate. The site highlights current and former NBA and NFL cheerleaders who are scientists, engineers, researchers, doctors, and more, with the intention of providing mentors and role models for girls interested in STEM careers. Their message: don’t let anyone tell you you can’t be a scientist!
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.”
Last week, a group of Connecticut high school cheerleaders begged their school board for uniforms that don’t reveal their midriffs. They say skimpy outfits violate league rules, but like most aspects of cheerleading, there isn’t really a standard for uniforms.
A half-dozen Central High School cheerleaders appeared before Bridgeport, Connecticut’s Board of Education and asked administrators to ask how they’d feel if their daughters were forced to wear their new uniforms, consisting of cropped tops and either small shorts or sweatpants as bottoms. The Connecticut Post reports:
"We ask with the utmost respect you do anything in your power to help us," said Heidi Medina, a former team captain, removing oversized sweats to reveal a quarter-length top and exposed middle. "I don’t feel comfortable wearing this."
"It really hurts our self esteem," said Ariana Mesaros, another senior on the team, in a voice hoarse from cheering the night before. "I am embarrassed to stand up here dressed like this. Is this really how you want Bridgeport to be represented?"