Ex-Dallas Cowboys cheerleader files lawsuit alleging team's mascot is paid three times more than her
The bone of contention was unlawful labor practices as she accused the franchise of failing to comply with appropriate compensation for the number of hours she worked for the team
Erica Wilkins, the famed cheerleader for the Dallas Cowboys has revealed an ugly side to being associated with the beloved American football team. Having worked as part of the team's cheerleading squad for at least three seasons, she shocked many after filing a lawsuit against the Cowboys last week.
The bone of contention was over unlawful labor practices as she accused the franchise of failing to comply with appropriate compensation for the number of hours she put in working for the team.
“Yes, it is prestigious,” Wilkins told The New York Post, opening up about cheerleading for the Cowboys. “But at the end of the day, prestige doesn’t pay my rent. I can’t walk down to my leasing office and hand them my uniform for the month.”
Wilkins, who claims to have “routinely worked in excess of 40 hours per workweek while performing her cheerleading duties,” has now filed a lawsuit in her pursuit of "justice" for herself and other cheerleaders suffering the same fate.
“I could’ve settled with the Cowboys for just my back wages and unpaid wages that they owed me — they offered that,” she told the outlet adding, “But I am not willing to settle . . . My goal is to help other cheerleaders, and women as a whole.”
Amongst the catalog of complaints that she listed in her lawsuit, the 26-year-old ex-cheerleader expressed disappointment with the disparity of pay between the cheerleaders and the team's mascot as well. Apparently, with a wage of $8 per hour for practices and flat rates during the usual season of games and appearances, the cheerleaders earn at least three times less than the mascot - Rowdy, the cowboy in a costume - who allegedly earns somewhere around $65,000 annually.
“I was on an appearance one time, and talking to the Rowdy. He basically said, ‘I book my own appearances a lot of times, so . . . I can make up to six figures.’” said Wilkins.
“I was definitely stunned, shocked,” she added about learning the massive figure that the man in the costume makes each year coupled with commissions.
While this is not the first time such a conversation has garnered limelight, especially since NFL teams and their treatment of the cheerleaders have always been a subject of heated debate, Wilkins hopes that her highlighting the issue would certainly help the Dallas Cowboys set the trend.
“The issue isn’t whether they can pay us — of course they can . . . it’s that they should,” she dished to The Post.
“I’m proud to have been a DCC. I’m not trying to make them look bad. I’m presenting them with an opportunity to be the good guys here . . . for them to be trendsetters and to set the precedent for other NFL teams across the board."