Former Cheerleader Sues Dallas Cowboys for Getting Paid Half Less Than Half of What Mascot Made
Erica Wilkins, a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, has filed a lawsuit against the football team, accusing them of paying her way less than what the team mascot made.
Wilkins was a cheerleader for the Dallas Cowboys from May 2014 to August 2017 and claims she only made $14,448 each year. The team’s mascot, Rowdy, on the other hand was paid about $65,000.
“Rowdy is in a costume, you have no look requirements, no height requirements, and no weight requirements,” Wilkins said.
“Wilkins and other cheerleader employees of (the Cowboys), who were all female, are/were paid at a rate less than defendant’s mascot, ‘Rowdy,’ who, at all times relevant, was male. (The Cowboy) and the (the cheerleaders) performed work which required equal skill, effort, and responsibility under similar working conditions as defendant’s mascot,” the lawsuit said.
Wilkins said that the Dallas Cowboys were supposed to pay her $8 an hour for time spent at practices, training and filming for Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team, a show on the CMT network. She said that she ended up making less than she should have for the hours she worked.
Although Wilkins is the only plaintiff in this lawsuit, it could cover other cheerleaders who were treated similarly.
“They’re profiting off our images and our bodies that we work so hard to keep in shape,” Wilkins said. “We put in so much work and not to be compensated fairly is really an injustice.”
“A lot of girls, me included, when you are on the team you are scared to speak out or stand up for yourself and when I finished my career I just decided it was time someone made a difference and make a change and stand up,” she added.
Wilkins seeks to recover wages and all other available damages in the lawsuit.
This isn’t the first time an NFL team has been under scrutiny for unfair pay practices. Earlier this month, five former cheerleaders sued the Houston Texans for allegedly paying them less than $7.25 an hour and failing to pay them for public appearances.
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