Former NFL cheerleader Bailey Davis has spoken out about the events that led to her firing by the New Orleans Saints, and why she decided to file a gender discrimination complaint against her former team.
Speaking with Redbook magazine’s Kaitlin Menza, Davis said that when she first made the team as one of the “Saintsations” at the age of 19, she felt like a dream had come true. Her mother had been the team’s field director and choreographer for 18 years. As a child, Davis recalled spending happy days hanging out at Saintsations practices. It was only after she went through orientation that Davis learned of the strict rules imposed on the dancers. In addition to so-called beauty requirements such as a permanent spray tan, she was specifically required to avoid any contact whatsoever with the players.
“If I were eating in a restaurant and a player walks in, I had to leave. We couldn’t follow them on Instagram, or like their pictures. If an official photo from the Saints account was a photo of a player alone, we couldn’t ‘like’ the photo,” said Davis. “It wasn’t until I was fired that I learned only cheerleaders had those rules. I assumed the Saints players were following them, too. But no, it was up to the women to keep up that separation. They told us, ‘We have these rules in place to protect you from ‘the predators,’’ which is how they describe the players.”
The beginning of the end came when her coach told her of a rumor that a “blonde girl” had been seen at a Mississippi party where a football player was present. The coach had no names, or any evidence at all that the rumor was based in reality, but she nonetheless told Davis she believed that the “blonde girl” was her. A few days later, after Davis posted a bikini photo onto her Instagram, her coach texted her that it was “very poor judgment to post a picture like that considering … the rumors going around about u.”
She was fired shortly thereafter, and was told in a meeting with a Saints executive that she had a “dirty face” in the photo and that “perception is reality.”
“What perception?” Davis asked herself. “That I’m trash, I guess. That I wanted attention from the players.”
Speaking with Menza, Davis spoke further on her complaint against the team, the changes she hopes to see in how cheerleaders are treated, and how she’s moving on from what happened. Below, watch Davis during an appearance she made on Megyn Kelly’s NBC show where she went into greater depth about the Saints onerous — and one-sided — rules.
Read the full story at Redbook magazine.