People Are Furious At The Cowboys For Remarks About Not Paying Cheerleaders Well

Viewers of Netflix’s docuseries “America’s Sweethearts” are calling out the Dallas Cowboys over how an official for the NFL team tried to justify why its cheerleaders aren’t paid well.

In the docuseries, which premiered last week and follows the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders through a football season, Cowboys Chief Brand Officer Charlotte Jones tells the camera that there is a lot of “cynicism” around pay for NFL cheerleaders.

“They’re not paid a lot,” Jones, the daughter of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, said on camera. “But the facts are that they actually don’t come here for the money. They come here for something that’s actually bigger than that to them.”

She continued: “There are not a lot of opportunities in the field of dance to get to perform at an elite level. It is about being a part of something bigger than themselves.” She added that women become Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders because it’s their passion and they get to be a part of the sisterhood.

People on social media expressed their anger at those remarks.

“I don’t think the show is reflecting positively on the Cowboys organization,” reads one comment with more than 1,200 likes on the cheerleaders’ Instagram. “These girls are overworked without appropriate pay and then Charlotte, who has her job because her daddy is a millionaire and handed it to her, defends it by saying it’s [a] privilege to represent the organization. Yikes. Not a good look on the Cowboys. If they’re such an important brand and the organization makes so much money off of them, then pay them accordingly.”

The docuseries never discloses how much the team’s cheerleaders make. Kat Puryear, a former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, said on the docuseries that she was paid about the same as a full-time Chick-fil-A worker. A former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader who joined the squad in 2021 told HuffPost that she was paid $12.50 per hour and $400 per game day.

“It’s kind of a running joke for the girls on the team: The guys on the practice squad, who don’t even touch the field half of the time, getting 80 grand more than we do a year,” she told HuffPost. “And I’m at every single game, dancing my ass off, and every other appearance, and my face is all over The Star,” she said, referring to the Cowboys’ headquarters and practice facility. “You don’t even know who these guys on the practice team are.”

The docuseries makes a case that the cheerleaders are part of the reason the Cowboys are known as “America’s team.”

“The most infuriating thing about the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders documentary isn’t the ridiculous beauty standards, it’s the fact they pay them a pittance so they have to work second jobs, while the footballers are paid millions,” reads one post on X. “The women are just as much athletes as the men.”

Others took their frustration to TikTok. One person said in a TikTok with more than 75,000 likes that the discussion around pay made her “blood absolutely boil.” She pointed out how the cheerleaders have to perform like athletes while also maintaining their body weight to fit in the same shorts they were given when they auditioned.

“Meanwhile, I’m sure [Charlotte Jones is] getting paid her wages in cold hard cash instead of passion and sisterhood,” the TikToker said.

This isn’t the first time the Cowboys have faced blowback for not paying their cheerleaders a lot. In 2018, Erica Wilkins, a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader from 2014 to 2017, sued the organization for lost wages. The Cowboys settled out of the suit.

The issue of NFL cheerleaders’ pay received renewed public attention earlier this year after cheer squads participated in a social media trend showing off their day jobs.

“This isn’t the flex you think it is. You’re telling us you don’t pay your cheerleaders shit,” reads a comment on a video of the Kansas City Chiefs cheerleaders that earned more than 31,000 likes.

The Cowboys did not immediately respond to a request for comment.