Cheerleading: Not as Glamourous as You Think
At Sparkle Farms, we try to focus on positivity, fun, and sparkles. However, sometimes I come across an issue that just has to be shared. I don’t know that I can do anything about it, but isn’t the first step raising awareness?
While watching the Super Bowl last Sunday, I started wondering how much players get paid to go out there and smash into each other each season. Quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, has a ten-year contract worth up to $503 million. $140 million of that is guaranteed. Harrison Butker, the field goal kicker who scored all of Kansas City’s points, has a five-year contract worth about $20 million, of which $6.5 is guaranteed. And, head coach Bruce Arians gets about $5 million a year to tell players to run around and smash into one another. These numbers got me thinking that there’s a lot of money being tossed around in football. So, how much are professional cheerleaders getting paid? It should be pretty good money, right? Well…
The lowest paid NFL player makes $24,000 a game. The highest paid cheerleader makes $400 a game. According to sportscasting.com, as of 2021, active roster players are offered a minimum one-year contract worth $610,000. After years of lawsuits, NFL cheerleaders will finally be paid minimum wage for the hours of rehearsal time they put in every week. That’s about 20 hours a week. They will also be paid for their time spent making promotional appearances. Depending on the team, that could be about $75 an event. Does anyone else have a problem with this? I know cheerleading isn’t rocket science, but it does take skill and many of the cheerleaders have spent just as many years training as dancers as players have spent playing football. I am completely flabbergasted that this has been going on for years and so little attention has been brought to it. If the huge discrepancy in wage isn’t bad enough, 10 of the 26 teams have been sued for wage theft, unsafe work conditions, sexual harassment, and discrimination. That’s according to marketplace.org.
Cheerleaders only cheer at home games. There are eight of those a year and the possibility of two playoff home games. Remember what I wrote in the beginning about cheerleaders making only $400 a game? Well, that’s only the highest paid. The rest of the league’s cheerleaders make $75 - $150 a game. Assuming they practice twenty hours a week for fifty weeks, even the highest paid cheerleaders do not make in a season what the lowest paid player makes in a single game. Considering the fact that 15 of the 26 team owners are billionaires, I think they can pay cheerleaders fairly for the work they do.
I would love to know what you think!