Strategy 13 stringent rules many NFL cheerleaders have to live by

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NFL cheerleaders associated with a number of football teams have to follow very strict rules.

Sweatpants aren't allowed in public. play

Sweatpants aren't allowed in public.

(Michael Ainsworth/AP Images)
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• NFL cheerleaders must follow strict rules to keep their jobs, according to a report from The New York Times.

• Some teams require cheerleaders to maintain a strict body weight, cover up tattoos and body piercings, and forego wearing sweatpants in public.

• One New Orleans Saints cheerleader was even sacked over an Instagram post, The New York Times reported, prompting a discrimination case.



NFL cheerleaders must adhere to a number of intense rules if they want to keep their jobs, according to a recent report from The New York Times.

These directives don't just pertain to cheerleaders' workplace conduct, either. The mandates dictate how cheerleaders can behave when they're off the clock, too.

Specific guidelines vary from team to team, but it's not the first time the treatment of NFL cheerleaders has been the subject of a controversy.

Some cheerleaders reportedly earned less than $1,000 a year in 2016, according to USA Today, and Time reports multiple lawsuits have been filed that allege that teams paid below the minimum wage. And now some are arguing are that the rules are sexist and that the NFL cheerleaders in general are exploited. A former New Orleans Saints cheerleader, who was fired after she posted a photo of herself in a one-piece outfit on Instagram, has even filed a discrimination case against the team, The New York Times reported.

Here's a look at some of the rules many NFL cheerleaders must abide by:

The New York Times reported that some NFL cheerleaders must buy their own uniforms. Others, like the cheerleaders for the Seattle Sea Hawks, are given uniforms but must pay for any maintenance or mending.

The New York Times reported that some NFL cheerleaders must buy their own uniforms. Others, like the cheerleaders for the Seattle Sea Hawks, are given uniforms but must pay for any maintenance or mending. play

The New York Times reported that some NFL cheerleaders must buy their own uniforms. Others, like the cheerleaders for the Seattle Sea Hawks, are given uniforms but must pay for any maintenance or mending.

(Roger Steinman/AP Images)

Source: The New York Times, CBS



Carolina Panthers cheerleaders must show up for work five hours before kickoff.

Carolina Panthers cheerleaders must show up for work five hours before kickoff. play

Carolina Panthers cheerleaders must show up for work five hours before kickoff.

(Chris Keane/AP Images for Panini)

Source: The New York Times



Cincinnati Bengals cheerleaders reportedly must be "within three pounds of their 'ideal weight'" in recent years, according to The Times.

Cincinnati Bengals cheerleaders reportedly must be "within three pounds of their 'ideal weight'" in recent years, according to The Times. play

Cincinnati Bengals cheerleaders reportedly must be "within three pounds of their 'ideal weight'" in recent years, according to The Times.

(David Kohl/AP Images)

Source: The New York Times, Deadspin



Baltimore Ravens cheerleaders also must go through regular weigh-ins. A former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader told Deadspin that "failure to comply with body weight and/or appearance guidelines could result in suspension from the team or game day suspensions."

Baltimore Ravens cheerleaders also must go through regular weigh-ins. A former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader told Deadspin that "failure to comply with body weight and/or appearance guidelines could result in suspension from the team or game day suspensions." play

Baltimore Ravens cheerleaders also must go through regular weigh-ins. A former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader told Deadspin that "failure to comply with body weight and/or appearance guidelines could result in suspension from the team or game day suspensions."

(Alex Brandon/AP Images)

Source: The New York Times, Deadspin



Carolina Panthers cheerleaders can't take water breaks unless the team is on offense, The Times reports.

Carolina Panthers cheerleaders can't take water breaks unless the team is on offense, The Times reports. play

Carolina Panthers cheerleaders can't take water breaks unless the team is on offense, The Times reports.

(Mike McCarn/AP Images)

Source: The New York Times



Carolina Panthers cheerleaders also can't change into their street clothes until they leave the stadium, The Times reports.

Carolina Panthers cheerleaders also can't change into their street clothes until they leave the stadium, The Times reports. play

Carolina Panthers cheerleaders also can't change into their street clothes until they leave the stadium, The Times reports.

(Rainier Ehrhardt/AP Images)

Source: The New York Times



Oakland Raiders cheerleaders are slapped with fines if they show up with the wrong pompoms, fail to polish their boots, or forget part of their uniform on game day, according to The Times.

Oakland Raiders cheerleaders are slapped with fines if they show up with the wrong pompoms, fail to polish their boots, or forget part of their uniform on game day, according to The Times. play

Oakland Raiders cheerleaders are slapped with fines if they show up with the wrong pompoms, fail to polish their boots, or forget part of their uniform on game day, according to The Times.

(Tim Ireland/AP Images)

Source: The New York Times



According to The Times, cheerleaders for the Baltimore Ravens can't pose nude or semi-nude, work as exotic dancers, or be in any "tasteless films, photos, or bikini/swimwear contest."

According to The Times, cheerleaders for the Baltimore Ravens can't pose nude or semi-nude, work as exotic dancers, or be in any "tasteless films, photos, or bikini/swimwear contest." play

According to The Times, cheerleaders for the Baltimore Ravens can't pose nude or semi-nude, work as exotic dancers, or be in any "tasteless films, photos, or bikini/swimwear contest."

(Patrick Semansky/AP Images)

Source: The New York Times



Carolina Panthers cheerleaders must cover up visible tattoos or body piercings, The Times reports.

Carolina Panthers cheerleaders must cover up visible tattoos or body piercings, The Times reports. play

Carolina Panthers cheerleaders must cover up visible tattoos or body piercings, The Times reports.

(Mike McCarn/AP Images)

Source: The New York Times



San Francisco 49ers cheerleaders reportedly cannot tell people that they are affiliated with the team.

San Francisco 49ers cheerleaders reportedly cannot tell people that they are affiliated with the team. play

San Francisco 49ers cheerleaders reportedly cannot tell people that they are affiliated with the team.

(Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Images)

Source: The New York Times



The Times reports that, according to several NFL cheerleader handbooks, "wearing sweatpants in public is forbidden" on some teams.

The Times reports that, according to several NFL cheerleader handbooks, "wearing sweatpants in public is forbidden" on some teams. play

The Times reports that, according to several NFL cheerleader handbooks, "wearing sweatpants in public is forbidden" on some teams.

(Winslow Townson/AP Images)

Source: The New York Times



Cheerleaders are also banned from posting "pictures of themselves in uniform," The Times reports.

Cheerleaders are also banned from posting "pictures of themselves in uniform," The Times reports. play

Cheerleaders are also banned from posting "pictures of themselves in uniform," The Times reports.

(David J. Phillip/AP Images)

Source: The New York Times



NFL cheerleaders are barred from associating with the football players themselves — that means no autographs or social media follows, according to The Times.

NFL cheerleaders are barred from associating with the football players themselves — that means no autographs or social media follows, according to The Times. play

NFL cheerleaders are barred from associating with the football players themselves — that means no autographs or social media follows, according to The Times.

(Jack Dempsey/AP Images)

Source: The New York Times

Are you a former NFL cheerleader with a story to share? Email acain@businessinsider.com.