Wage theft and underpayment has become a trend in the world of professional cheerleading. One of the biggest offenders is the Oakland Raiders who have been in the spotlight in recent years for offering poor wages to their cheer staff.
However, a bill was proposed by California State Rep. Lorena Gonzalez (D) in January that would force teams to adhere to federal and state minimum wage standards.
A league that is worth 33 billion?dollars?can afford to pay their cheerleaders a suitable wage.
According to Thinkprogress:
????????????????? ?A.B. 202 would explicitly require that professional sports teams provide cheerleaders with the same rights and benefits as other employees, protecting against the sort of financial and personal abuses that have been reported throughout the country,? said Gonzalez, who is a former college cheerleader herself, in an April press release. ?A.B. 202 simply demands that any professional sports team ? or their chosen contractor ? treat the women on the field with the same dignity and respect that we treat the guy selling beer.?
A similar bill has also been proposed in the State of New York, but the California bill will be the first one to hit the governor’s desk.
Both of the bills came in the wake of a lawsuit that was brought against the Oakland Raiders, who had been reportedly paying their cheerleaders under $5.00 an hour. Which is $4.00 below the State of California minimum wage,?and $2.25 below the federal minimum wage.
The Buffalo Bills are?another team that has been reportedly involved with wage theft, by not paying 2o hours of their cheerleaders’ weekly work.
While the California legislation is taking a step in the right direction, unfortunately many other states and their respective professional football teams have yet to follow?the trend and pay their workers a real wage. This has only served to sour our view of overall treatment of workers in the sports industry.