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The concept of cheerleading is a pretty amazing one. They are like a cold beer on a Sunday afternoon for NFL football. Similarly, they are like a beer on a Saturday night while watching a UFC event.
This article was first published May 2, When the Washington Redskins took their cheerleading squad to Costa Rica in for a calendar photo shoot, the first cause for concern among the cheerleaders came when Redskins officials collected their passports upon arrival at the resort, depriving them of their official identification.
For the photo shoot, at the adults-only Occidental Grand Papagayo resort on Culebra Bay, some of the cheerleaders said they were required to be topless, though the photographs used for the calendar would not show nudity. Others wore nothing but body paint. A contingent of sponsors and FedExField suite holders — all men — were granted up-close access to the photo shoots.
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They had a special asment for the night. Some of the male sponsors had picked them to be personal escorts at a nightclub. Several of them began to cry. Other girls were devastated because we knew exactly what she was doing. Their treatment has come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks since two former N. Interviews with dozens of current and former N. But they were disturbed by some of the extracurricular requirements that put them in what they considered unsafe situations. The cheerleaders spoke on condition of anonymity because they were required to confidentiality agreements when they ed the team.
Washington redskins cheerleaders describe topless photo shoot and uneasy night out
She vehemently denied that the night at the club was mandatory and said that the cheerleaders who went were not chosen by sponsors. Jojokian said. We respect each other and our craft. Each Redskin cheerleader is contractually protected to ensure a safe and constructive environment.
The work our cheerleaders do in our community, visiting our troops abroad, and supporting our team on the field is something the Redskins organization and our fans take great pride in. A spokesman for the N. After Daniel Snyder bought the Redskins inthe cheerleading program was given a makeover. They said they were troubled, however, when their safety was not taken seriously.
There is no leaguewide policy for security, or a union to protect them.
‘describe your perfect date’
A half-dozen Redskins cheerleaders said Ms. Jojokian seemed especially focused on preserving relationships with businessmen who supported the team and her nonprofit dance company, Capitol Movement. In an interview on Tuesday, Ms. Jojokian choked up when she considered that some cheerleaders felt she did not fully support them.
I would never put a woman in a situation like that. I actually mentor these women to be strong and to speak up, and it kills me to hear that. The Redskins, who said that only six sponsors, including two couples, attended the calendar shoot trip, made available for interviews two cheerleaders who were captains of the squad in Both women, who spoke on condition of anonymity, praised Ms.
They said they thoroughly enjoyed their experiences as Redskins cheerleaders. InMs. Jojokian, a former squad director and choreographer for the N. It was a yacht with several men aboard — including a familiar face, William R. Teel Jr. Teel, 52, was a longtime Redskins suite holder and a local businessman with close ties to the team.
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Rogers to get the money back. He also maintained a close relationship with the cheerleading program.
For about a decade, one or both of Mr. As an Army veteran, he said he was drawn to sponsor the cheerleading team because of the many trips it took to entertain United States military troops overseas. As a sponsor, he helped judge cheerleader tryouts and occasionally was invited to buy package deals to attend calendar shoots. Teel also paid for Redskins cheerleaders to go to Super Bowls. Jojokian said that Mr.
Teel said, however, that he always worked through Ms. Jojokian to determine which cheerleaders would participate on his trips and that he always provided security. Jojokian said that she, too, was not expecting to see strangers on Mr. Below the deck, men handed out cash prizes in twerking contests. No cheerleaders claimed that they were touched inappropriately, and the two team captains said the trip was pleasant.
One cheerleader a few years later was told what to expect at the annual affair. But we were too scared to complain. We felt that our place on the team would be compromised if we did. Teel, whose name is still painted on two prime parking spots at FedExField though he no longer owns a suite at the stadium, was adamant in saying that nothing inappropriate happened on his boat and that he always treated the cheerleaders with respect. The people that wanted to stay, stayed.
Report: redskins cheerleaders made to take topless photos, escort sponsors on trip
The team bonding was just team bonding. Were people dancing? For the Costa Rica trip, the cheerleaders had a dress code: white tops, khaki bottoms and heels. Straw hats were permitted, while flats were definitely not. Their suitcases were packed with bathing suits, which they had to purchase for the photo shoots, and food.
Disordered eating was common on the team, several of the cheerleaders said. Laxative abuse was prevalent. Many N. The Occidental Grand Papagayo is an all-inclusive resort, but the women did not feel they could indulge in the buffets. Besides, they said, they often were too busy to eat proper meals.
They said their hotel rooms turned into markets, with stacks of fiber and protein bars, rice cakes, peanut butter and cans of tuna. During the photo shoots, they were anxiously aware when the sponsors and other guests were watching. The nine cheerleaders picked to escort the sponsors to a nightclub boarded a hotel van without any Redskins management. When they showed up at the club, it was dark and nearly empty, several of them said. But the men who had requested them were there. The cheerleaders said they were further bothered by the fact that Redskins officials were there, too.
Jojokian was not, but Lon Rosenberg, the senior vice president for operations, and Dennis Greene, the president for business operations, were.
‘like a human barricade’
A former Redskins cheerleader who volunteered as a sideline assistant during games was encouraging the women to drink and flirt, the cheerleaders said. At the end of the night, at about 2 or 3 a. They did not have them because the team had taken possession of them upon arrival. The Redskins said it was team policy to collect passports for all international travel as a security precaution.
They returned to the resort, but several women on the team decided not to return to the squad the next season. What happened in Costa Rica, they said, made them feel worthless and unprotected. Finally, I had to admit to myself, this is not what I thought it would be. Jojokian said she recalled the cheerleaders saying they enjoyed the night at the club in Costa Rica.