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Lawyer Gets Creative With Settlement in NFL Cheerleaders Case

By William Vogeler, Esq. on April 26, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Sara Blackwell is a lawyer who truly knows the value of a case.

She has offered to settle her case against the National Football League for $1 on behalf of former NFL cheerleaders. But that's not where the money is in her case.

Blackwell's offer requires the NFL to have a "good faith" meeting to address gender discrimination. It has the potential to solve a long-time issue between cheerleaders and players.

Gender Bias

The problem, in male-dominated sports like football, is that cheerleaders and players are not treated the same when it comes to fraternizing. Cheerleaders can lose their jobs; players, not so much.

Bailey Davis, a former New Orleans Saints cheerleader, said she was fired for posting a photo of herself in a lace bodysuit on Instagram and because she was rumored to be at a party with Saints players. Kristan Ann Ware, a former Miama Dolphins cheerleader, says players are held to a different standard when it comes to social media and expression.

Blackwell says that's discrimination. She filed employment claims on their behalf, but floated her settlement proposal within weeks.

She wants the NFL to develop rules to protect cheerleaders and players equally. She also wants teams to keep cheerleading squads together for five years to avoid retaliation.

"Good Faith"

Blackwell told the National Law Journal that the case is "beyond equal pay and sexual harassment." She said the current rules unfairly put women at risk of losing their jobs.

"I'm the worst lawyer when it comes to making money," she said. "What we're looking for is equality and fairness."

According to reports, the NFL has not accepted the settlement proposal. For now, it has released a statement that the league supports fair employment practices.

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