NFL cheerleader claims discrimination after being fired for posting pic of herself in a one-piece

A former cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints’ Saintsations squad has filed a gender discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging that female dancers were held to a higher standard than the male football players they rooted for, the New York Times reports.

Though the Saintsations website still lists Bailey Davis as a member, the 22-year-old dancer says she was fired after three seasons with the squad for posting a photo of herself in a one-piece outfit to Instagram. Davis claims that the post did not violate her code of conduct, as her Instagram was set to private in accordance with team regulations and she was not nude, seminude, or wearing lingerie.

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“Very poor judgment to post a picture like that especially considering our recent conversations about the rumors going around about u,” Saintsations senior director Ashley Deaton texted Davis (pictured below on the right) four days before she was fired, referencing a rumor that the cheerleader had attended the same party as a player. “This does not help your case. I’d expect you to know better.”

Davis’s dismissal may indicate a larger problem with how the Saints, and the NFL, treat their male and female employees. A Times investigation showed that cheerleaders must adhere to an anti-fraternization policy that prevents them from socializing with players, while players themselves are not reprimanded for pursuing contact. In addition to blocking players from their social media accounts.

The anti-fraternization policy reportedly also prohibits cheerleaders from speaking to NFL stars or even dining at the same restaurant.

“They’ve been told that anything beyond ‘hello’ and ‘great game’ is too personal,” Davis’s mother, Lora, who has also served as a Saintsations choreographer, said. “It’s considered fraternization to say anything beyond that.”

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Davis’s lawyer argued that this treatment amounts to a double standard.

“If the cheerleaders can’t contact the players, then the players shouldn’t be able to contact the cheerleaders,” attorney Sara Blackwell told the Times. “The antiquated stereotype of women needing to hide for their own protection is not permitted in America and certainly not in the workplace.”

“I’m doing this for [other cheerleaders] so they can do what they love and feel protected and empowered and be a female athlete and not be pushed to the side and feeling unimportant,” added Davis, who would have been paid $10.25 an hour for her fourth and final season, per squad policy.

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The highest-paid player on each NFL team in 2017
32. Jason Peters -- $11,250,00

Team: Philadelphia Eagles

Position: Left tackle

2017 earnings breakdown: $3.0 million salary, $8.0 million signing bonus, and $250,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: Peters has a salary cap hit of just $6.9 million and the Eagles do not have any players with a cap hit over $9.9 million. Of the Eagles' top ten cap hits, four are offensive linemen.

(Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
31. Drew Brees -- $13,000,000

Team: New Orleans Saints

Position: Quarterback

2017 earnings breakdown: $13.0 million salary

One thing to know: Brees' contract expires after the 2017 season and speculation has already begun that the team will look to move in a different direction from Brees who will be 39 in 2018.

 (Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
30. Gerald McCoy -- $13,250,000

Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Position: Defensive tackle

2017 earnings breakdown: $13.25 million salary

One thing to know: McCoy is one of only two Buccaneers players with a cap hit over $8.0 million.

(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
29. Travis Frederick -- $14,242,000

Team: Dallas Cowboys

Position: Center

2017 earnings breakdown: $1.3 million salary, $12.9 restructure bonus

One thing to know: Frederick's salary cap hit this season is just $4.5 million and only three Cowboys players have a cap hit of at least $10 million.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

28. Tyrod Taylor -- $14,500,000

Team: Buffalo Bills

Position: Quarterback

2017 earnings breakdown: $7.5 million salary, $7.0 million signing bonus

One thing to know: There was speculation early in the offseason that the Bills would part ways with Taylor. However, in the end, the two sides renegotiated his contract, saving the team more than $6 million in salary cap space this season. Only $1.0 million of his $30.5 million contract is guaranteed beyond the 2017 season.

(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

27. Dre Kirkpatrick -- $14,984,380

Team: Cincinnati Bengals

Position: Cornerback

2017 earnings breakdown: $2.55 million salary, $7.0 million signing bonus, and $5.4 million in other bonuses

One thing to know: Kirkpatrick started just five games in his first three seasons after he was drafted in the first round of the 2012 draft. However, he has been a starter since the starter of the 2015 season and was rewarded with a 5-year, $52.5 million contract.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
26. Muhammad Wilkerson -- $15,000,000

Team: New York Jets

Position: Defensive end

2017 earnings breakdown: $14.75 million salary, $250,000 workout bonus

One thing to know: Wilkerson has an $18.0 million cap hit this season and that number will grow to $20.0 million in 2018. There is an opt out of his contract following the 2018 season.

(Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
25. Michael Bennett -- $15,531,250

Team: Seattle Seahawks

Position: Defensive end

2017 earnings breakdown: $6.5 million salary, $9.0 million in bonuses

One thing to know: Bennett's earnings will drop to $6.5 million in 2018 and there is an opt out of his contract following the 2018 season.

 (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
24. Von Miller -- $16,500,000

Team: Denver Broncos

Position: Outside linebacker

2017 earnings breakdown: $16.5 million salary

One thing to know: Von Miller's $19.9 million salary cap figure is third among all defensive players. That number jumps to $22.4 million next season, which would only trail Ndamukong Suh's $26.1 million cap hit. However, Suh is unlikely to play for the Dolphins in 2018 without restructuring his contract.

(Photo by Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
23. Desmond Trufant -- $16,526,000

Team: Atlanta Falcons

Position: Cornerback

2017 earnings breakdown: $1.5 million salary, $15.0 million signing bonus

One thing to know: Trufant agreed to a new 5-year, $69 million contract in April, however, only $4.3 million is guaranteed after this season.

(Photo by Frank Mattia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
22. Trumaine Johnson -- $16,742,400

Team: Los Angeles Rams

Position: Cornerback

2017 earnings breakdown: $16.7 million salary

One thing to know: Johnson, a third-round pick in 2012, is in his sixth NFL season and his second straight season under the NFL's franchise tag. The Rams will need to work out a long-term deal with Johnson soon or they risk losing him for nothing. They could use the franchise tag again in 2018, but it would come with a salary of $24.1 million.

 (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
21. Corey Davis -- $17,073,864

Team: Tennessee Titans

Position: Wide Receiver

2017 earnings breakdown: $465,000 salary, $16.6 million signing bonus

One thing to know: Davis is the first of five rookies on this year's list. The fifth pick in the draft received 65% of his four-year, $25.4 million contract before he ever played a down in the NFL.

 (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) )
20. Leonard Fournette -- $18,351,067

Team: Jacksonville Jaguars

Position: Running Back

2017 earnings breakdown: $465,000 salary, $17.9 million signing bonus

One thing to know: Fournette was the fourth pick in this year's draft and has already made eyebrow-raising headlines when he called the NFL slower than he imagined and "really easy."

(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
19. Solomon Thomas -- $19,080,903

Team: San Francisco 49ers

Position: Defensive End

2017 earnings breakdown: $465,000 salary, $18.6 million signing bonus

One thing to know: Thomas missed most of the offseason workouts because of league rules that forbid participation until a rookie's school has finished their academic calendar (Stanford's school year goes until mid-June). He later missed training camp reporting date and the first day of practices because he had yet to sign his rookie deal. However, any fear of a lengthy holdout were quickly wiped away when he reported shortly after the start of the first practice.

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
18. Mitchell Trubisky -- $19,719,490

Team: Chicago Bears

Position: Quarterback

2017 earnings breakdown: $465,000 salary, $19.3 million signing bonus

One thing to know: The Bears paid a hefty price to move up one spot and draft Trubisky. He has looked good at times in the preseason, but for now he is still behind Mike Glennon and Mark Sanchez on the depth chart.

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
17. Antonio Brown -- $19,000,000

Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Position: Wide Receiver

2017 earnings breakdown: $910,000 salary, $19.0 million signing bonus

One thing to know: Brown has averaged 126 catches, 1,639 yards, and 12 touchdowns per 16 games over the last three seasons.

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
16. Ndamukong Suh -- $20,000,000

Team: Miami Dolphins

Position: Defensive Tackle

2017 earnings breakdown: $10.0 million salary, $10.0 million restructure bonus

One thing to know: Suh is now in the third year of his monster 6-year, $114.4 million contract with the Dolphins. Suh has a cap hit of $19.1 million this year, but that jumps to $26.1 million next season. If he continues to be productive, the Dolphins will need to rework the deal. However, if he starts to falter, he could be looking for a new team next season.

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
15. Xavier Rhodes -- $20,026,000

Team: Minnesota Vikings

Position: Cornerback

2017 earnings breakdown: $8.0 million salary, $12.0 million signing bonus

One thing to know: Rhodes made his first Pro Bowl this past season and the Vikings rewarded him with a six-year, $78 million extension, second only to Josh Norman among cornerbacks.

(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
14. Myles Garrett -- $20,723,004

Team: Cleveland Browns

Position: Defensive End

2017 earnings breakdown: $465,000 salary, $20.3 million signing bonus

One thing to know: As the top pick in the draft, Garrett signed a standard 4-year deal worth $30.4 million. That's good, but it is still a far cry from the $78 million contract signed by Sam Bradford as the top pick of the 2010 NFL Draft under the old CBA rules.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
13. Nick Perry -- $20,725,000

Team: Green Bay Packers

Position: Outside Linebacker

2017 earnings breakdown: $1.3 million salary, $18.5 million signing bonus, $925,000 in other bonuses.

One thing to know: Aaron Rodgers will make $13.7 million this season.

 (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
T-11. Joe Flacco -- $21,000,000

Team: Baltimore Ravens

Position: Quarterback

2017 earnings breakdown: $6.0 million salary, $15.0 million signing bonus

One thing to know: Flacco's contract is still elite. He is under contract until 2021 and if he reaches the end of the deal without restructuring, his career earnings will top $210 million. Only one player in NFL history has made more — Peyton Manning ($249 million)

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
T-11. Eric Berry -- $21,000,000

Team: Kansas City Chiefs

Position: Free Safety

2017 earnings breakdown: $900,000 salary, $20.0 million signing bonus

One thing to know: Berry is considered one of the top coverage safeties in the NFL, especially against tight ends, a talent that is highly coveted.

 (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
10. Chandler Jones -- $22,000,000

Team: Arizona Cardinals

Position: Outside Linebacker

2017 earnings breakdown: $7.0 million salary, $15.0 million signing bonus

One thing to knowJones plans to be more of a vocal leader on the Cardinals' defense after signing his new 5-year, $83 million contract.

(Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
9. Jason Pierre-Paul -- $22,250,000

Team: New York Giants

Position: Defensive End

2017 earnings breakdown: $1.3 million salary, $20.0 million signing bonus, $1.0 million in other bonuses.

One thing to know: Pierre-Paul's new 4-year, $62 million contract is one of the NFL's more incredible redemption stories considering it was not long ago that he had lost multiple fingers on one hand because of a fireworks accident that left his career in jeopardy. 

(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
8. Melvin Ingram -- $22,750,000

Team: Los Angeles Chargers

Position: Defensive end

2017 earnings breakdown: $5.0 million salary, $10.5 million signing bonus, and a $7.25 million roster bonus.

One thing to know: Ingram's new 4-year, $64 million contract is excellent for a linebacker, but it could end up being a steal for the Chargers if he transitions well to his new position as a defensive end where salaries tend to be higher.

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
7. Stephon Gilmore -- $22,968,750

Team: New England Patriots

Position: Cornerback

2017 earnings breakdown: $4.5 million salary, $18.0 million signing bonus, and $470,000 roster bonus.

One thing to know: Gilmore signed a 5-year, $65 million free-agent contract with the Pats after spending his first five seasons with the Bills. The Pats can opt out of the deal after the second year and $32 million. 

(Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
T-5. Josh Norman -- $24,000,000

Team: Washington Redskins

Position: Cornerback

2017 earnings breakdown: $16.5 million salary, $7.0 million signing bonus, and a $500,000 roster bonus.

One thing to know: Norman's $20 million roster hit this season is the second-highest for any non-quarterback in the NFL, trailing only Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston.

(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
T-5. DeAndre Hopkins -- $24,000,000

Team: Houston Texans

Position: Wide Receiver

2017 earnings breakdown: $8.0 million salary, $7.5 million signing bonus, and $8.5 million roster bonus.

One thing to know: Hopkins recently signed an $81 million extension making him the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL in terms of total value and total guaranteed ($49 million).

(Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
4. Derek Carr -- $25,175,000

Team: Oakland Raiders

Position: Quarterback

2017 earnings breakdown: $5.0 million salary, $12.5 million signing bonus, and $7.7 million in other bonuses.

One thing to know: At one point this summer, Carr was briefly the highest-paid player in the NFL based on average annual salary, signing a new 5-year, $125 million contract worth $25 million per year. Carr celebrated by going to Chick-fil-A.

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
3. Kawann Short -- $26,000,000

Team: Carolina Panthers

Position: Defensive Tackle

2017 earnings breakdown: $6.0 million salary, $20.0 million signing bonus

One thing to know: The Panthers rewarded Short this offseason with a five-year, $80.5 million extension. While much of his ranking this year is based on his $20 million signing bonus, he is still the third-highest-paid defensive tackle based on average annual salary, trailing only Ndamukong Suh and Fletcher Cox.

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
2. Andrew Luck -- $27,000,000

Team: Indianapolis Colts

Position: Quarterback

2017 earnings breakdown: $7.0 million salary, $14.0 million signing bonus, and a $6.0 million roster bonus.

One thing to know: The Colts are being extremely careful with Luck this season. Luck is coming back from offseason shoulder surgery and despite returning to practice a week before the regular season, he won't play in Week 1.

(Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
1. Matthew Stafford -- $51,000,000

Team: Detroit Lions

Position: Quarterback

2017 earnings breakdown: $1.0 million salary, $50.0 million signing bonus

One thing to know: Stafford agreed to a new five-year, $135 million contract this offseason, with a whopping $50 million signing bonus. The $27 million average annual salary is tops in the NFL, surpassing the $25 million-per-year average for Derek Carr.

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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While the NFL declined to comment on Davis’s complaint, the Saints have denied any wrongdoing.

“The Saints organization strives to treat all employees fairly, including Ms. Davis,” Leslie A. Lanusse, a lawyer for the team, said. “At the appropriate time and in the appropriate forum, the Saints will defend the organization’s policies and workplace rules. For now, it is sufficient to say that Ms. Davis was not subjected to discrimination because of her gender.”

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