Your 2016 Buffalo Bandettes!

Your 2016 Buffalo Bandettes!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Updates in the NFL Cheerleading world

The last few weeks, the heat has been turned up in the fight to ensure that NFL Cheerleaders are given the respect they deserve. A Saints cheerleader was kicked off the Saintsations for posting a lingerie photo on Instagram and members of the Washington Redskins cheerleaders allege that they were subject to very disturbing treatment on an unpaid week-long trip to Costa Rica including the temporary confiscation of their passports while they were there, acting as escorts for male sponsors at nightclub events, and topless photo shoots to name a few.
Regarding what happened with the Saintsations, there are certain rules in place to protect the cheerleaders but at the same time, as someone who used to work closely with 2 professional cheerleading squads, sometimes the rules can seem a bit heavy-handed. This young lady's account was a personal private account not accessible by non-followers and unless she was identifying herself as a professional cheerleader on that account, this might be a case of heavy-handedness. One of the rules that some feel may be excessive is about posting photos in team gear, identifying themselves publicly as professional cheerleaders. There is a very solid reason for that in the form of stalkers. This is a very real danger and it's not like pro cheerleaders generally have the resources to hire security firms to protect them. NFL players do, however. Even before I worked closely with the Jills, I was keeping an eye out to ensure last names weren't getting published online and corresponding regularly with the Jills director in the case of any issues in that regard.
The anti-fraternization policy that exists across the NFL seems a bit one-sided in my opinion. Cheerleaders aren't to have personal relationships of any type with players but players aren't penalized for pursuing cheerleaders at all. That's something that needs to change, IMO. There are sexual harassment guidelines in every workplace and there should be those same guidelines applied to professional athletes as well. In the majority of workplaces, sexual harassment complaints can cause suspensions and terminations. While it's doubtful that an NFL team will cut a player for hitting on a cheerleader, suspensions and fines would be reasonable for a player who doesn't take it to extremes. Obviously if anyone, even a player, gets carried away, criminal charges could and should be filed.
In regards to what has happened in Washington, and Costa Rica, other Redskins cheerleaders have claimed none of that ever happened. Here's the problem with their no way, shape, or form do all cheerleaders go through all the same experiences as everyone else on their squad, whether they cheered together or not. Much was made of the "jiggle test" that was brought up in the Buffalo Jills lawsuit and a Jills cheerleader who had been on the squad from 2007-2009 said that they never went through that type of test. Rules change and what may have been the norm in 2009 might not have been in 2012. I recall when I first started working closely with the Jills and remarked about how much turnover there had been since the year before. To that, the director mentioned that the nice thing about having a lot of turnover is the lack of an uproar over rules changes.
Regarding the actual claims from the Redskins cheerleaders, they are disturbing to say the least. Confiscating their passports seems to serve no purpose other than to exert extra control over them and the toplessness serves no purpose at all. If there are photos to be taken for the calendar that will be topless, but showing nothing, the security should be strict around the shoot and obviously it has to be something that the cheerleader is completely at ease with. That means no one should be getting access to the shoot who isn't integral to the shoot. I don't care how much a sponsor is donating. In regards to being forced to escort men to nightclubs, I have to say I'm disgusted by the very idea.
With the Jills, the only escorting type stuff I'm aware of was on the golf course and while there were complaints brought up in the lawsuit, I personally never saw any issues. Groups that had gotten a Jill to join them on the course frequently had an extra golf cart with their group so there weren't issues about sitting on laps. The closest I ever saw to that was when we got a bit of a rainburst in 2011 and 2 of the Jills rode back to the clubhouse with me, with me behind the wheel and the 2 of them close together in the passenger seat.
Were there any issues when I was working with the Jills? To be honest, there were a few dance routines I was uncomfortable with because while I always treated everyone in a professional manner, I was also protective of them like family. Beyond that, I can't really say. I won't claim to know everything that everyone went through. Some girls voluntarily shared more with me about their experiences than others did but no two went through everything the same way.
In response to these and other issues, some NFL cheerleaders are looking to meet with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to have an open discussion on addressing these and other issues in regards to treatment of NFL Cheerleaders. Reportedly, the NFL is open to these discussions but whether or not Goodell will be involved is unclear at this time.
What does this mean for the Jills? Maybe nothing, maybe a lot. It's hard to say. With 4 separate defendants in the lawsuit and also the matter of an outside company under contract to run the Jills, we could still be waiting a while longer to see the case resolved and a return to the sidelines.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Bandettes tryouts upcoming

The Buffalo Bandits today announced the Buffalo Bandettes will be holding auditions for the 2017-18 squad. The dance team, run by newly appointed coordinator Lauren Kirchmyer, is looking for 12 dancers to perform at all of the Bandits’ home games.

Kirchmyer rejoins the dance team as the new Bandettes Coordinator after spending four seasons as a Bandette from 2011 to 2015. She was a captain, dancer and choreographer for the Bandettes during that span and has been a dance educator in the Western New York area since 2009.

The tryouts will take place on Saturday, Nov. 4 from 2 to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 5, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Steppin’ Out Dance Academy, located at 266 Center Rd., West Seneca, N.Y. 14224. Dancers must register online and pay a $25 fee in order to be entered into the tryouts.,%20WILL%20HOLD%20AUDITIONS
I worked with Lauren during her 4 seasons on the squad and she's one of the most qualified young women to take this position that the Bandits could possibly choose.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Some updates on the Jills to report

The Jills lawsuit filed over 3 years ago has had little news to report. The complicated case with 4 separate defendants has remained bogged down in the courts and even the plaintiffs have been left with few updates. This week though, we got some updates. State Supreme Court Justice Mark A. Montour ruled that the contracts that the ladies on the Jills signed when joining the squad were unenforceable and that the plaintiffs were non-exempt employees mis-classified as independent contractors. This correlates with what one of the lawyers in the case told me 3 years ago, that the contracts were illegal so the stance that the plaintiffs had no grounds to file a suit was totally off-base.
I'm no legal expert so I can't begin to explain everything this means but one thing we can be assured of is that this decision is a step forward towards resolving the lawsuit. Until the suit is settled, it could be tough to get the Jills re-instated. Even when the suit is resolved, there are still hurdles to get over but every step counts.

The other news is less positive. Last November, the case was in court and many of those involved gave their depositions that were finally released on Wednesday. One, in particular, was rather jaw-dropping. Russ Brandon, the President of the Buffalo Bills said “If I spent one collective hour in 20 years thinking about the Buffalo Jills, that would be about 58 minutes more than I have.” He told one of the attorneys that he couldn't have cared less that the Jills existed. He did follow that up by saying he didn't mean to be disrespectful but in truth, his very wording was extremely insulting to the Jills and their supporters.
It's not surprising when a casual fan doesn't get just what pro cheerleaders add to an organization as it's not always obvious to a detached observer. Before I started working closely with the Jills in 2005, I wasn't aware of all they did. Russ Brandon, however, has been with the Bills since 1997, a high-ranking executive in 2006, and the President since 2013. If he's truly ignorant to what the Jills brought to the team, then he's not qualified to hold a high-ranking position with the team. If he's not truly that ignorant, then he should be ashamed of himself

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Another NFL Cheerleader Lawsuit has hit the news

Ex-cheerleader sues NFL over low wages
 A former San Francisco 49ers cheerleader filed a federal lawsuit alleging NFL executives and team owners conspired to suppress wages for cheerleaders.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday by the woman identified only as "Jane Doe" names the league and each football team and seeks class-action status for all NFL cheerleaders, described in court papers as "female athletes."

The NFL and its owners conspired "with the purpose of reducing market competition among female athletes and thus ensuring female athlete earnings remained far below fair market value," the suit alleges.
Read the rest at
Last week, a suit involving the Jets Flight Crew was settled but in Buffalo, the Jills' status is still up in the air with a lawsuit filed against the Bills, the NFL, Citadel Radio, and Stejon Productions. Even after that complicated suit is settled, there may still be more hurdles depending on what kind of contractual agreements are in place with Stejon Productions. When the suits are settled, the Bills will want control of the Jills handled in-house to ensure that everything is on the up-and-up.

New opportunity for pro cheerleaders and dancers coming to Buffalo!

After the Buffalo Destroyers left town following the 2003 season, a void was left in Buffalo, a city with enough of a passion for football to deserve more than just 1 NFL team. The American Football League is planning on having the Buffalo Blitz finally fill that void.

Just as the Destroyers had the Bombshells cheerleading squad, the Blitz has need of a squad and they are currently looking for cheerleaders, dancers, a choreographer, and a manager.

If interested, email with some background of what experience you have. Entries will be notified of tryout location, date, and time with tryouts tentatively scheduled for late February.