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Former cheerleader sues Saints, claims team rules discriminatory

A former New Orleans Saints cheerleader fired by the team for posting a photo of herself in a one-piece outfit, filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, accusing the team of holding its cheerleaders -- who are all women -- to different standards than its male players, The New York Times reported.

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Bailey Davis, 22, who cheered for the Saints for three seasons, said she followed team rules by making her Instagram page private, so only people she approved could view her posts. 

When she posted a photo of herself in a one-piece outfit in January, Saints officials accused her of breaking rules that forbade cheerleaders from appearing nude, seminude or in lingerie, the Times reported. The team also accused her of attending a party with Saints players -- the Saints have a rule against fraternizing between players and cheerleaders, either in person or online -- and fired her despite her denials, the Times reported.

According to the Saints’ handbook for cheerleaders, the women are required to block players on social media and are not allowed to post photos of themselves in team gear. Players are not required to do that, the Times reported.

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“If the cheerleaders can’t contact the players, then the players shouldn’t be able to contact the cheerleaders,” Sara Blackwell, Davis’ lawyer, 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.”

“The Saints organization strives to treat all employees fairly, including Ms. Davis,” Leslie A. Lanusse, a lawyer who is representing the Saints, wrote in an email to the Times. “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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