Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders would probably make more money if they worked at Hooters

Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders would probably make more money if they worked at Hooters

Netflix‘s new docuseries America’s Sweethearts: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders has revealed some eye-opening truths about the iconic squad’s less-than-glamorous financial reality. Turns out, these world-famous performers might be better off slinging chicken wings at Hooters (which I hear are quite delicious).

The show, which follows the cheerleaders through their 2023 season, has viewers’ jaws dropping. From grueling auditions to intense training camps, these women aren’t just there to be pretty; they are putting in work. But when it comes to payday? Let’s just say it’s not exactly raining dollar bills.

Former Cowboys cheerleader Kat Puryear didn’t mince words, comparing her earnings to “a substitute teacher” or “Chick-fil-A worker that works full-time.” Ouch. To put that into perspective, we’re talking about $15-20 per hour, or roughly $22,500 annually. For context, that’s less than half of what an NFL water boy makes. Yes, you read that right – the people hydrating players earn more than the women performing complex routines in front of thousands.

The Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders’ pay controversy explained

It gets better, though (or worse, depending on how you look at it). Charlotte Jones, the Dallas Cowboys’ chief brand officer, actually defended these sub-par wages. Her take? The cheerleaders aren’t in it for the money, but for the “sisterhood” and “passion for dance.” Excuse me while I literally laugh myself off of a cliff. Because apparently, passion pays the rent and sisterhood fills the fridge. And according to that logic, the players themselves should be perfectly fine without their 10 million dollar contracts because of altruism or whatever.

Jones went on to say, “There are not a lot of opportunities in the field of dance to get to perform at an elite level. It is about being part of something bigger than themselves.”

Charlotte Jones

Sure, Jan. Because nothing says you’re valued quite like being paid less than a fast-food worker while representing a franchise worth $9 billion.

Photo via TikTok/@dccheerleaders

This situation reeks of the all-too-familiar pay disparity between predominantly female and male jobs. Women are often expected to sacrifice their time, bodies, and financial stability for the sake of fulfilling their purpose. It’s a tale as old as time, or at least as old as capitalism.

The docuseries revealed that many cheerleaders balance full-time jobs alongside their demanding squad duties. From pediatric nurses to orthodontists, these women are hustling to make ends meet. Some even uprooted their lives and moved to Dallas for the opportunity, only to find themselves scrambling for additional gigs to supplement their meager cheerleading income.

It’s worth noting that this isn’t a new issue. Back in 2018, cheerleader Erica Wilkins sued the Cowboys, claiming she made just $4,700 after taxes for the year. The suit was settled, and game-day pay was bumped up to $400 per game. Progress, right? Well, considering the average NFL player salary is $2.8 million, with a minimum of $705,000, it feels more like tossing pennies at a piggy bank.

Photo via Instagram/@dccheerleaders

The Netflix series has sparked widespread backlash, with fans flooding the team’s social media accounts to express their outrage. Yet, the powers that be seem content to stick to their “it’s about the experience” narrative. The next time you’re at Olive Garden, enjoying those endless breadsticks, spare a thought for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. They might be the most recognizable cheer team in sports, but when it comes to their bank accounts, the industry is epically fumbling this pass.

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