Bailey Davis, 22, was fired after she posted a photo of herself in a “one-piece” to her private Instagram account. The team claims she violated rules that forbid Saintsations cheerleaders from “appearing nude, seminude, or in lingerie,” according to the Times, and Davis has followed up by filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The complaint calls out the Saints for its outdated rules for women, and a Times’ investigation into the team’s handbook and internal documents revealed a whole set of gendered double standards for cheerleaders and players.
The rules insist cheerleaders “avoid contact with players, in person or online, even though players are not penalized for pursuing such engagement with cheerleaders,” per the Times. Cheerleaders are not allowed to speak to NFL players aside from greetings and compliments, are required to block them on social media, and must leave a restaurant where they’re already dining if a player shows up.
Davis ran into trouble after rumors circulated that she was seen at the same party as a Saints player. She denies this and said players tried contacting her on social media, but after following directives to make her Instagram account private, posted the photo of herself in the “one-piece” which reportedly led to her firing four days later.
According to the Times, the team insists its rules are in place to “protect cheerleaders from players preying on them.”
But Davis wants to fight for other cheerleaders, who she says are bound by antiquated rules that are not imposed on male players.
“I’m doing this for them so they can do what they love and feel protected and empowered, and be a female athlete and not be pushed to the side and feeling unimportant,” Davis said.