In addition to the mandatory weigh-ins, the leaders of the cheer team could also control what their women ate. Some choreographers were known for restricting the women’s diets based on their weight and then testing them on their ability to resist.
One cheerleader recounted a story where a choreographer restricted cookies from her diet, and the next day offered her a cookie just to ensure that she would say no. The move added insult to injury since the girl had already been reprimanded for her rising weight.
They Have to Avoid Runs in Their Tights
Sometimes accidents happen. Getting an unfortunate run in your tights would generally be considered one of those accidents, but not in the NFL.
When you’re cheerleading and constantly moving and kicking your legs in tights, runs are a distinct possibility. Unfortunately, NFL teams don’t take too kindly to accidents. Some girls have been benched for an entire season because of a simple run in their tights, proving once again that their bosses aren’t the most understanding people.
They Can’t Chew Gum
The Seattle Seahawks cheerleading handbook included a section on chewing gum. The women weren’t allowed to chew gum unless the Sea Gal director said it was okay.
In comparison to some of the other rules on this list, this guideline is sensible. You don’t exactly want the women chewing gum while they’re yelling out cheers and flipping their heads around. However, the same rule also stated that the director could control when the women ate or drank, making the guideline much more about control rather than practicality.
They Have to Follow a Certain Diet
Since cheerleaders have to achieve an “ideal weight,” some guidebooks offer regulations that will help to keep their bodies in check. One NFL handbook proclaimed that cheerleaders were only allowed to eat two meals per day, so they better “choose wisely.” The diet plan also limited the women to one slice of meat per day.
To keep in line with the expectations of the team, many cheerleaders survived on caffeine and weight loss supplements, rather than risking a weight gain by actually eating.
They Don’t Have a Say In Their Photoshoot
Cheerleaders who are in good standing with the team get the special privilege of being part of the team calendar. However, this privilege isn’t always as advantageous as it seems.
In 2013, the Washington Redskins took their cheerleaders to Costa Rica to shoot the calendar. After taking all their passports to ensure they couldn’t leave, the photographers forced the girls to pose nude. Not only were those moments captured on camera, but they were also observed by various sponsors of the Redskins who were allowed to watch the shoot.