The NFL team from the American capital only wants a dance group of women and men in their stadium shows in the future. There are also such “coed teams” in Switzerland.
The Washington Football Team will not have cheerleaders in the future.
From the new season there will be a dance group made up of women and men.
The group will come up with a mix of athleticism and tricks.
In Switzerland there are mostly associations that consist exclusively of women.
The Washington Football Team does not have cheerleaders in the future and instead wants to use a dance group with men and women at NFL games. Several US media reported on this on Wednesday and relied on statements by Petra Pope, who had previously been hired as the team’s new advisor. “Changes are difficult, but I have a feeling that the fans will love what we will serve them in the future,” she said. However, the breakup of the team is also a loss for the sport of cheerleading, as the Washington team had been around since 1962. It was the longest-running program by a team in the NFL.
The reason for the resolution are, among other things, several cases of sexual harassment, as the “New York Times” writes. For example, the former team director demanded that the cheerleaders have to present themselves as sex symbols in order to satisfy male fans and sponsors. “It seems like the women have been brainwashed to believe that it is OK to be treated like trash,” said former Washington cheerleader Allison Cassidy in a 2018 interview.
The new group should have a mix of athleticism and tricks and be “modern”. Other NFL teams – like the Los Angeles Rams or the Seattle Seahawks – already have men in their dance groups. Pope continues: “The new dance group will consist of 36 people. But we don’t yet know how many men will join the newly formed group, as the auditions for it are still ongoing. ”
Washington Football Team pioneers
The changing team from Washington caused a stir last season and made history. The team parted with the heavily criticized nickname “Redskins” before last season. Native Americans fought unsuccessfully for a name change for years. The death of George Floyd and the resulting Black Lives Matter demonstrations forced the club management to rethink. Because: Sponsors have been asked to end their relationships with the NFL team.
As the first team ever in the NFL, the Washington Football Team has also had a black club president in office since 2020. This after Washington became the last team in the league to allow African American players. But the franchise is not only taking on a pioneering role on the executive floor. With Jennifer King, the Washingtoners hired the first black full-time coach of a team in the NFL. She works as an assistant trainer for the offensive. For the new season there is now another innovation – in the cheerleading team.
“We would be very happy to have more men”
The FCSG cheerleading team of FC St. Gallen is one of the most successful teams in Switzerland. Cheerleader and trainer Selina Trivigno can only partially understand the step taken by the Washington Football Team: “The idea itself is not bad and of course it doesn’t work at all if the cheerleaders have to present themselves as sex objects.” At the same time, however, she hopes that the performances in Washington will not return to old clichés. “Cheerleading is a sport with lots of acrobatic and spectacular opportunities, not just a few women and men dancing around a bit.”
In Switzerland, according to Trivigno, there are mostly all-girls cheerleading teams that consist exclusively of women: “We would be very happy if we had more men in our club – they have more strength and you could design a lot more and more spectacular figures . ” When asked whether her cheerleading team has already suffered sexual harassment, Trivigno says: “We are always whistled afterwards in the stadium, but now we can professionally hide it.” Unfortunately there are also one or the other “Grüsel” who speaks to them.
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