Your 2016 Buffalo Bandettes!

Your 2016 Buffalo Bandettes!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Why Were These Pro Cheerleaders Paid Less Than a Dollar an Hour?-Cosmopolitan Magazine

From the time she was 10 years old, Maria P. loved the Buffalo Bills. "I grew up going to the games," she says, flipping through an album with photos of herself as a kid in a Bills hat, standing outside the stadium. After graduating from high school, she tried out for the Buffalo Jills, as the NFL team calls its cheerleaders. Competing with roughly 200 other women for a spot on the 36-member squad, she danced before hundreds of community members. "I was so nervous," she says. "I must have looked so young." She didn't get past the first round, but the dream persisted.
After earning a degree from the University at Buffalo, she decided to try out again, hitting the gym every day for a year to prepare. When she got cut in the final round, she was so devastated, she says, "I locked myself in my house for a week." A year later, in 2012, she tried for a third time — and made it. "It was the best day of my life," she says.
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The pay has been an issue for as long as I can remember. The Bills, since contracting the squad out about 30 years ago, have only provided the Jills with a sideline pass, 1 game ticket per game, and a parking pass. Supposedly the Bills were going to give Stejon Productions money this year so that the girls could be paid for gamedays and after the lawsuit went public, they withdrew that offer. The official reasoning for the squad being shut down is because the Bills withdrew their offer of money for the season.
While we've been largely neutral in this case to let the facts play out, people should realize the suit isn't about the lack of pay by any means. When Stejon Productions took control in 2012, there were several rules changes that threw many veterans and rookies alike for a loop.
One correction that should be made to the article, in regards to how many tried out. Since 2006, the most that have ever tried out for the Buffalo Jills was 120 and since 2009, the number has hovered between 80 and 90. It's often posted that the number is between 150-200 but it hasn't been that many in at least a decade or more.
Currently, there's a movement started by several former Jills and spearheaded by Jills Ambassador Squad co-captain Gabrielle to bring back the Jills. While it's likely too late to do anything about 2014 for several reasons including a resolution to the lawsuit, selection of squad management and the selection and training of a squad, it's never too early to put the pressure on to ensure that once the suit is settled, the Bills will start up a new Buffalo Jills squad. When you consider that Bills owner Kim Pegula is a former cheerleader herself, it shouldn't be hard to convince her. To ensure that the Pegulas get the message that we want our Jills back, you can support the cause with shirts from A portion of every shirt sold will go to the Hunter's Hope Foundation. Also, before anyone gets the idea that the girls involved in the lawsuit are happy the squad was shut down, don't. While they have serious issues with the way the squad has been run in recent years, they are fervent supporters of the #bringbacktheJills movement as well.

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