Monday, June 30, 2014
The segment started off with a talk with Lacy, who loved performing and sports and wound up cheering in college and for the Golden State Warriors in the NBA before joining up with the Oakland Raiderettes. Once she made the squad, she felt she was on top of the world at first. After a while, her feelings changed.
Andrea then talked to Alyssa and Maria, each of whom went into debt to pay for their uniforms and other squad-related expenses. Alyssa even used her student loan money to pay for her uniform. They described the jiggle test to Andrea and even put on a demonstration of it, relating how they felt when doing it in front of their peers and squad management.
Despite the financial issues, they did it for the love of cheering and stuck it out to honor the commitments they made when making the squad. The Buffalo Men's Show was brought up, during which some members of the squad participated in a bikini fashion show. It turns out that some of the girls were groped while doing that and were quite frightened by the experience. According to the legal complaint, more groping happened at the Calendar Release Party held at Turning Stone Casino last fall.
One thing brought up was how much your typical NFL Mascot makes, upwards of $35K. In the most popular and wealthy sports league on Earth, there's plenty of money to go around, a lot more of which could go to the cheerleaders when you consider all the work they put in in support of the teams in the areas of entertainment and public relations.
Andrea Kremer didn't stop with the plaintiffs as, even though the teams involved in these lawsuits refused to speak with her on the matter, Jills director Stephanie Mateczun was willing to be interviewed. In it, she talked about how her company, Stejon Productions, was run, a company formed after she successfully lobbied Entercom Communications to let her form to control the squad. She also related how anyone not happy with how things are done on the squad could leave at any time, which some have done over the years. Of course any money spent by the girls on uniforms and the like has always been non-refundable.
Finishing up, Bryant and Andrea touched on what the NFL wants to do this season, allowing fans to request cheerleaders come visit them in their seats, something that could, IMO, cause some serious problems safety-wise for the girls.
When it comes to the Jills lawsuit, Alyssa and Maria stated their ultimate goal is to form a union, by which cheerleaders could work together to ensure fair treatment and compensation. Most squads are under direct control of the teams they represent and that number is growing. The Gold Rush Cheerleaders are outsourced to a private company like the Jills have been, but the 49ers organization plans to change that while other NFL teams, like the Vikings, are working to improve the compensation they pay the girls in their organizations.
The fact of the matter is, the Buffalo Jills once had a union, back in the mid-1990's but when they were looking for a new sponsor, the only way Salvatore's Italian Gardens would take them on was if they dropped the union.
Personally, I've been staying neutral on the whole suit. I wasn't working closely with the squad in 2012 and 2013 when most of the allegations took place and even while Citadel radio and Cumulus media had control of the squad and I was more involved, I stayed out of the in-depth stuff and just did what I could to support the squad, including the girls on the squad through photography, blogging, and watching out for their safety when I could.
Regarding the "jiggle test," which Stephanie Mateczun admits to running, it's apparently a new thing as Jills alum Stephanie B (2007-09), in an interview on WHAM-TV in April, said it was something that she never did. While it's definitely important that the girls have to be in shape to perform on the field, one has to wonder why the change in procedure, especially if the new procedure was uncomfortable for the girls. If the old way they determined field-readiness was working to everyone's satisfaction, it seems unnecessary to change it.
As for the groping allegations, I know that I never saw any while I photographed those bikini fashion shows at the Men's Show and at Calendar Release parties over the years. That being said, I was never able to see everything that was going on as I was trying to get photos taken. I know in the past, when Calendar Release Parties were held from 2005-2009 in Buffalo, there was at least some security keeping an eye on things like that. I'm not sure what happened when they held that Calendar Release Party in the Syracuse area in 2013 however. If anyone was misbehaving and groping anyone, they should've been escorted out immediately. At Club New York, at the 2007 Calendar Release party, I think I can guarantee that the owner would've thrown anyone out caught pulling any of that. The worst thing I saw was in 2008 when a photographer from a local website took some photos he shouldn't have. I didn't even see that until the next day when I was working on photos. The following year, I ensured that didn't happen again by making sure I was where he had been and he was elsewhere, ensuring every photo I took was one that the girls approved of.
Finally, I think the whole idea of "ordering cheerleaders" to your seats is dangerous to say the least. Bringing them into the stands around a whole bunch of drunks puts their safety at risk, even if they do have security with them. After the Jills swimsuit calendars debuted in 2000, members of the squad were out in the lots before games selling them but after a few years, that practice was put at an end for safety reasons. As it is many squads have Ambassadors who aren't on the field during the game but instead, visiting suites. Suites are generally a little bit more under control than the stands with security on hand. Putting the girls in the stands could backfire with more lawsuits filed by cheerleaders or with complaints from other fans trying to watch the game but disrupted from doing so.
I think Real Sports did a great job showing both sides of the issue but I also feel a lot more could've been talked about. Alyssa and Maria recently did an interview with Cosmopolitan magazine that will be featured in the September, 2014 issue, which hits newsstands in mid-August and I imagine it will be more in-depth.
Note:the majority of the video I included in this article did not appear on the show itself but was put up on the HBO Sports YouTube page as an add-on to the TV segment.
Friday, June 27, 2014
|Autumn, Rachael, and Lisa with one of the players|
|Vincenza running with her buddy along the base path|
|Stacy with her buddy|
|The Jills with some of the Challengers Sports League players|
|One of the players just loved Vincenza and Kaitlin|
For several years, the Taste of Buffalo, the largest 2-day food festival in the United States, featured members of the Buffalo Jills, usually rookies, making appearances during the weekend. They were generally stationed at the booths run by Citadel Radio stations 97Rock and 103.3 The Edge as well as with the Bills. They posed for photos, greeted fans, and handed out Bills schedules in addition to helping out with games. I usually went on the Saturday for these things but I had a friend performing with a local band on Sunday so I went then instead, stopping briefly to get a few pics of the Jills on hand.
|Joy at 97Rock booth|
|Ayeshia and Stacy with Billy Buffalo at the Bills booth|
|Keisha at the 103.3 The Edge Booth to help with games|
From the Bandettes comes a photo from the January game against the Toronto Rock. Before the game, the girls greeted fans coming up the escalators to the 100 level for the game. L.B.'s line was on the east end of the escalators and posed for this photo during a lull in the crowd. Shown posing are Kelsey, Janelle, LB, Amanda, and Chelsea.
|Kelsey, Janelle, LB, Amanda, and Chelsea|
Monday, June 23, 2014
Also coming up is an article in Cosmopolitan Magazine in the September 2014 issue. How indepth the article will be, I don't know. But I do know, from the senior photo editor who contacted me on Friday, that the article will feature an interview with Alyssa and Maria.
Friday, June 20, 2014
As I pulled into the parking garage, I saw 3rd year vet Rachael heading out of the garage and wound up getting to the bar just moments after her. Shortly after getting inside, Kelly H, the 6th year vet who was the captain of the Ambassador Squad, got right to work introducing some of the rookies.
|Kelly and Lisa|
|Katherine, Kelly, and Amanda F|
|Lisa, Kaitlin, Jess, Katherine, Amanda F, Rachael, Katie C, Vincenza, and friend|
|Kelly Ann and Eileen|
|Michelle with Josh Stamer|
|Eileen, Jamie, and Emily perform|
|Valerie and Kaitlin B|
You can see all the pics at https://buffaloprocheerbuffalojills.shutterfly.com/pictures/4420
From the Bandettes comes a photo from the January game against the Toronto Rock. On occasion, both lines would be out for the 2nd half or portions of it. In this photo taken in the 3rd quarter, we see Amanda, Cheri, Danielle, and Kelsey performing to the music while the game was going on.
|Amanda, Cheri, Danielle, and Kelsey|
Friday, June 13, 2014
We start off with a look back at the 2007 Buffalo Jills Open Workshop, held at the Niagara Falls Conference and Event Center. This workshop was different than most as Jills Choreographer Kelli Wagner was unavailable to teach the tryout routine. The reason for this is because she was accompanying 8 of the 2006-07 Buffalo Jills on a troop visit tour in Iraq and Kuwait, the only NFL Cheerleading squad to make that trip. Joining Kelli on that trip were Eileen, Jamie, Natale, Katie, Autumn, Emily, Stefanie, and Jenica. Before leaving for Iraq, Kelli had gone over the routine with Aimee and Omarlla, the two captains not making the trip overseas.
|Jills in Iraq|
|Aimee and Omarlla teaching the routine|
|Jessica Z, Kaitlin B, and Valerie returning for a 2nd season together|
|Ruby (2009-12) and Dominica (2005)|
|Melissa returning after a season off reconnecting with Kaitlin and Brianne|
|Katie K about to drop the puck with Rob Ray and Katherine looking on|
|Katie and Katherine with Jamestown Jammers mascot J.J. Jammer|
From the Bandettes comes a photo from the January game against the Toronto Rock. During the 2nd quarter, members of L.B.'s line posed for a photo during a stoppage in play. Shown posing from left to right are Janelle, MaKenzie, Jessica, L.B, Cheri, Chelsea, Amanda, and Kelsey.
|Janelle, MaKenzie, Jessica, L.B, Cheri, Chelsea, Amanda, and Kelsey|
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel is about to tackle an issue that hits close to home as their June 24th episode will take a look at the lawsuit between 5 Jills alumnae and Stejon Productions. Andrea Kramer will be handling the story and will be talking with Alyssa and Maria as well as Stejon Productions president Stephanie Mateczun.
Friday, June 6, 2014
We finish up the 2013-14 Buffalo Jill of The Week series with Swimsuit Calendar Covergirl Ashley C. A captain in her 2nd season with the Ambassador squad, she was to be one of only 2 of the 2013 captains to return to the 2014 squad. Over the last two years, she's actually gotten to be pretty good friends with that other captain, longtime BuffaloProCheer favorite Melissa M, formerly of the Bandettes before switching over to the Jills. Ashley is currently in law school after getting her B.S. in legal studies a year ago with hopes to practice law in Buffalo, possibly in corporate law. We know she looks fantastic in uniform but I have a feeling she'll be rocking the powersuit look as well. I also have a feeling she's going to try as hard as she can to stay in Buffalo for a variety of reasons. She loves the seasons and snowboarding as well as the beach and who can forget the sports teams and fans. Another big thing for her is the food as she loves Buffalo-style chicken whether it's in wings, salad, or dip. Considering it's hard to find anyplace outside of Western NY that can put together chicken, hot sauce, and blue cheese the right way, she might have a rough time of it living elsewhere! lol You can see all of Ashley's pics at https://buffaloprocheerbuffalojills.shutterfly.com/jillsindividualpics/56363 Ashley's secondary photo comes from the game against Miami in December when the girls were dressed as Santa's helpers. Shown coming off the field just before the half are Gabrielle, waving to the fans, and Ashley.
|Gabrielle and Ashley|
From the Bandettes comes a photo from the January home game against the Toronto Rock. Prior to the game, most of the squad was greeting fans as they come up the escalators to the 100 level. Shown posing for a photo are members of Kirsten's line with Danielle, Chrissy, Brianna, Kirsten, Mandy, and Lauren K from left to right.
|Danielle, Chrissy, Brianna, Kirsten, Mandy, and Lauren K|
Thursday, June 5, 2014
The Queen City Roller Girls is an 8-team women's roller derby league based in Western NY that is skater-owned and operated. It is continuously committed to the reviving and redefining of the classic sport of roller derby, with a 21st century twist. It's built a strong following and holds bouts at the Rainbow Rink on Oliver Street in North Tonawanda. Next season, they'll be moving downtown to the Buffalo RiverWorks Event Center. You can learn more about the Queen City Roller Girls at http://www.qcrg.net/
This Saturday night though, is the championship bout for the Roller Girls season, matching up Tammy's Suicidal Saucies and the Nickel City Knockouts. Tickets are $20 and $15 with the bout set to start at 6:30pm.
Monday, June 2, 2014
Read more at http://ultimatecheerleaders.com/2014/06/nfl-cheerleader-alumni-reunion-set-for-august-in-atlanta/