Your 2016 Buffalo Bandettes!

Your 2016 Buffalo Bandettes!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Not About The Benjamins-a review

Last year, an article was published in the NY Post about the rash of Cheerleader lawsuits that canvassed the NFL last year and for whatever reason, it's getting a lot of traction now.
You can read that article at

Currently, we are working on ways to get the Jills reinstated. While it's unlikely that anything will happen while the lawsuit is resolved, which currently has 6 plaintiffs instead of the original 5, public awareness of the strong value of having a professional cheerleading squad is still needed. The hope is that once the suit is resolved, the Pegulas will move to bring back the Jills but under full control of the Bills organization. The San Francisco 49ers used to contract out their Gold Rush Cheerleaders in the same way the Jills were but they ended that practice in light of all the lawsuits. Their thinking was that, in taking full control back, they could ensure that no outside party would be able to do anything that wasn't on the up-and-up in regards to running a squad in their name.

We should be seeing sights like this at this time of year
Currently, squads across the NFL are in the midst of tryout season with 25 official squads and 3 unofficial ones, leaving 4 without cheerleaders for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately Buffalo is one of those after Stejon Productions President Stephanie Mateczun made the decision to shut down Jills operations. The question is why she did so. When 5 former Jills filed a lawsuit against Stejon and other parties, the suit contained some rather disturbing allegations far beyond the lack of monetary compensation. The Buffalo Bills had, just prior to the suit, agreed to pay Stejon $30,000 in 2014 to help provide proper monetary compensation for the members of the Buffalo Jills. Unfortunately, once the allegations in the lawsuit came to light, they withdrew that offer, which would require Stejon to continue not paying the Jills. Ms Mateczun went to local businessman and former Jills sponsor Russell Salvatore with a request for $70-80,000 to fund the Jills but when he refused for whatever reason, she shut the squad down. Why she went to him with a much larger request than she was going to get from the Bills remains a mystery though speculation is that other sponsors may have pulled away from Stejon's operations in light of the allegations in the lawsuit.
Alyssa B and Miranda with a young fan at the 2011 Bills Uniform Unveiling
Let's be clear that having this lawsuit in place sucks to put it bluntly. The only people who truly win in a lawsuit are the lawyers. Most everyone reading this wants the squad to come back and didn't want the squad shut down in the first place, and that includes the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Out of them, 2 spent multiple years on the squad and thoroughly enjoyed their time there prior to Stejon Productions taking control of the squad. This was despite the lack of pay and they even wanted to return to the squad a 4th season, hoping that the way things were handled in 2012 was an anomaly. There were several rules changes in 2012 that they and several others, afraid to speak up out of fear of being ostracized, took issue with. Simply put, the lawsuit isn't just about money but about working conditions more than anything else.
No matter whether you side with the plaintiffs or the defendants, the fact of the matter is that the focus needs to be on returning the Jills to the sidelines. A unified front is needed and placing blame on anyone involved with the suit will do nothing to improve the situation. It's up to the courts to decide whether the lawsuit is frivolous or if Stephanie Mateczun abused her power. The rest of us should be focused on getting the squad reinstated and besides letting the Bills organization know how important it is to us, educating the rest of the public on the merits of pro cheerleaders so that they can't claim ignorance as an excuse not to support our efforts.

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