CHICAGO (CBS) — In 2013, when the Washington Redskins took their cheerleaders on a weeklong trip to Costa Rica, they were paid nothing other than transportation costs, along with food and lodging.
But some of the women who went to the photo shoot at the Occidental Grand Papagayo, an adults-only resort, were told to pose topless and others only wore body paint, even though the calendar would not show nudity.
The New York Times reports the team also invited spectators. The incident provides a look into how N.F.L. teams use cheerleaders for more than sideline dancing during games.
A group of sponsors and suite holders from FedEx Field were granted “up-close” access to the photo shoot. All were men.
After the end of a 14-hour day that included posing and dance practices, some of them weren’t finished.
Nine of the 36 cheerleaders were hand-picked to be “personal escorts” at a nightclub for some of the sponsors who made the trip.
According to the New York Times, the account of the Redskins’ calendar shoot in Costa Rica was based on interviews with five cheerleaders involved. Many details were confirmed with others who heard descriptions of the trip at the time. The cheerleaders, who were required to sign confidentiality agreements when they joined the team, spoke on condition of anonymity.
Dozens of current and former cheerleaders interviewed said they enjoyed performing at games and participating in charity work. But added they were disturbed by some of the “requirements” that put them in what they considered unsafe situations.
The Redskins longtime director and choreographer Stephanie Jojokian denied much of how the trip was described, including that the nightclub event was mandatory.
“I’m the mama bear, and I really look out for everybody, not just the cheerleaders,” said Jojokian. “It’s a big family. We respect each other and our craft. It’s such a supportive environment for these ladies.”