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Columnist campaigns for NFL to abolish cheerleading: ‘Premise of NFL cheerleaders is degrading’

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In a Wednesday op-ed, USA Today columnist Nancy Armour said that the NFL should do away with cheerleading altogether, as the "premise of NFL cheerleaders is degrading."

What else did she say?

Armour began her op-ed by zeroing in on the NFL's Houston Texans, who recently held tryouts for the team's newest cheerleaders.

"The Houston Texans aren’t even bothering with the pretense," she wrote. She noted that the team website hosts a photo gallery featuring snaps of the women who've tried out for the team, on which web visitors are encouraged to vote for their favorites.

"Are these action shots of the women that highlight their athletic ability or dance skills? Do they include a list of their qualifications?" Armour asked rhetorically. "Of course not. They’re headshots. Sorry, head and chest shots. Close-up ones, at that. The better to ogle, you know."

Armour then went on to report on the cheerleaders who have filed discrimination complaints against the NFL (two of them, to be specific).

"The underlying premise of NFL cheerleaders is degrading, presenting women as nothing more than objects to be leered at," Armour added. "With skimpy, suggestive outfits as their 'uniform,' their only purpose is to titillate."

What does she say about the #MeToo era?

Later in the column, Armor wrote that there's simply no place in the #MeToo era for something as trivial as cheerleading, which she said is an "appalling message to send," adding that cheerleading isn't even treated as a serious sport in which to engage.

"The NFL has a long history of disregarding and demeaning women, only acknowledging them when it suits the league’s financial interests," Armour accused. "Few teams have female executives, even fewer have female owners.

The "objectification of cheerleaders" is merely another example of that, according to Armour.

Armour concluded by pointing out six of 32 NFL teams who do not have cheerleaders — the Chicago Bears, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Green Bay Packers – and said that it's high time for more teams to follow suit.

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