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Redskins Investigate Cheerleaders' Claims Of Topless Photos

Posted on May 04,2018
Filed Under Local Sports,

LANDOVER, MD - JANUARY 10: A fan holds a sign before a game between the Washington Redskins and the Green Bay Packers during the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at FedExField on January 10, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

By Skip Wood

ASHBURN, VA. — Washington Redskins officials scrambled Thursday to mitigate the impact of a New York Times report Wednesday detailing how team cheerleaders were used as escorts for sponsors and suite owners during a 2013 calendar shoot in Costa Rica in which some of them were told to pose topless despite the presence of onlookers.

Team president Bruce Allen said the allegations are considered serious and are being looked into by the team, which already has taken pro-active steps to counter the claims.

"Based on the dialogue we've had with a number of current and former cheerleaders over the past 48 hours, we've heard very different first-hand accounts that directly contradict many of the details of the May 2 article," Allen said in a statement. "I can promise that once we have completed looking into this matter, if it is revealed that any of our employees acted inappropriately, those employees will face significant repercussions."

According to the Times, the cheerleaders had their passports collected after arriving at a resort location, the adults-only Occidental Grand Papagayo on Culebra Bay. Some of them said they then were required to be topless during the photo shoot despite stadium suite holders and sponsors having been invited.

Later, the cheerleading team's director told nine of the 36 members they had been picked by male sponsors to be their personal escorts. Sex, they said, was not involved, but one said she felt the team was "pimping us out."

Stephanie Jojokian, team cheerleading director, denied to the Times that the night at the club was mandatory. She added the cheerleaders who went were not chosen by sponsors.

The Times piece comes at a tricky time for the NFL. Just last month, as detailed by Yahool!, former New Orleans Saints cheerleader Bailey Davis and former Miami Dolphins cheerleader Kristan Ware, filed discrimination complaints against the league citing, among other things, sexual harassment.

A lawyer representing the two women, Sara Blackwell, told the Washington Post that the report "made my stomach sick. I think (NFL commissioner) Roger Goodell has the power to change this and every single one of the teams, but he is choosing to not do it."

The league released a statement of its own:

"The NFL and all NFL member clubs support fair employment practices. Everyone who works in the NFL, including cheerleaders, has the right to work in a positive and respectful environment that is free from any and all forms of harassment and discrimination and fully complies with state and federal laws."

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