Earlier today, the U.S. Patents and Trademarks Office cancelled the federal trademarks for the Washington Redskins after ruling that the name was “disparaging to Native Americans.” And the woman to thank for this tremendous victory over a powerful NFL team and its owners is Suzan Harjo, a 69-year-old grandmother and Native American activist who has been waging this fight since 1992. ”Native American people have been fighting this since 1972,” Amanda Blackhorse, one of the five Native American plaintiffs in the case filed before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, told Business Insider. ”The reason it has come up recently is because Suzan has worked really hard to bring this in the public eye.” Keep reading »
Yet another NFL team is being sued by a former cheerleader for allegedly paying pom-pom shakers less than minimum wage.
Manouchcar Pierre-Val, 25, filed a class action lawsuit against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday, claiming they violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by paying her only $2 an hour between April 2012 and March 2013. Keep reading »
God, it was must be sooooo difficult being on the WRONG side of history. I almost — almost, but not at all, really — feel bad for Amy Kushnir, one of the hosts of Dallas’s morning show “The Broadcast,” who got into it with two of her fellow cohosts — including the totally rad Courtney Kerr — over the “appropriateness” of Michael Sam’s gay kiss being shown on ESPN this past weekend. Sam, as I’m sure you remember, became the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL on Saturday and celebrated by — GASP — kissing his boyfriend, Vito Camissano, while cameras rolled. This has apparently been too much for some people — including Kushnir and some other homophobic ninny on “The Broadcast” — to handle. Kerr and Kushnir got into it because Kushnir pulled the usual tired old “but what about the childddddddren?” card, saying:
“When parents do not have a choice about whether or not they want their children to see this, it is wrong … I don’t call it a moment of celebration … It’s being pushed in faces. I don’t want to see that. I don’t want to see cake in your face, kissing each other.”
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On Saturday, Michael Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams, becoming the first out gay player to be drafted into the NFL. Upon receiving the news, Sam emotionally embraced and kissed his boyfriend, Vito Cammisano, on live television, something that shouldn’t be a big deal, but obviously is given that the macho world of professional sports hasn’t always been so welcoming towards gay players. Sam has been out and proud since February, posting lots of adorable photos with Cammisano, who is also an athlete, online. Cammisano also tweeted a photo of the smooch (after the jump), writing, “Wow. What a day. On cloud 9. So proud and happy!” (Can we talk about how seriously droolworthy these two are? YUM.) Between Michael Sam and Conchita Wurst’s victory at Eurovision, Saturday sure was a great day for equality, huh? Love! [Buzzfeed] Keep reading »
Five former NFL cheerleaders for the Buffalo Bills are suing the team for alleged violation New York State labor laws by paying the woman less than mandated $8 minimum wage.
The ex-cheerleaders, called the Jills, said the team “exploited the women” by not paying them/underpaying them for events like game day performances, practices two times a week, and up to 35 corporate events. The Jills are also required to attend six annual events on behalf of the team. Their work for most of those activities was uncompensated, the lawsuit alleges, calculating that Jills worked for free up to 20 hours per week — or 840 hours of unpaid work per person per year. Some women took home as little as $1,800 in pay a year from their Jills job! Yet they still had to pay for their own uniforms, out-of-town travel, hair and nails.
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According to Lacey T, the a 27-year-old Oakland Raiders cheerleader who filed an unfair labor practices lawsuit on behalf of all the Raiderettes, there are some majorly screwed up and “illegal” demands placed on NFL cheerleaders. The fact that Cincinnati Ben-Gal Alexa Brenneman has filed a similar lawsuit against her team for violating federal employment laws only seems to confirm that treating cheerleaders like underpaid (the lawsuit says cheerleaders in Cincinnati make $900 a season), undervalued objects is a common practice in the NFL. Below, some of the “rules” Brenneman claims she was forced to abide by — including mandates about “no panties, “slouchy breasts” and “scale weight.” Be prepared to be outraged. Keep reading »
In a perfect world, an athlete coming out as gay wouldn’t even be considered news. But in the world we live in, college football player Michael Sam’s decision to come out of the closet before the NFL draft is headline-making and controversial. Sam — who, if drafted, would be the first openly gay player in the NFL — has received a lot of support from all over, but it’s especially moving to see him defended and championed by someone like Texas sportscaster Dale Hansen. Especially since Hansen, an older white man from Texas, quotes Audre Lorde while doing so. Awesome. [Twenty Two Words]