Those prone to conspiracies have claimed for years that liberals are working to destroy the game of football. It often seems as if the National Football League is helping them destroy it.
Over the past few years, the NFL has suffered from never-ending rule changes making the game more gentle than ever, lawsuits accusing the NFL and others of knowingly allowing players to suffer traumatic brain injuries, continuous news of domestic violence or other off-field criminal behavior, billionaire owners extorting taxpayers in city after city for increasingly luxurious stadiums and players taunting fans with Black Lives Matter demonstrations such as "hands up, don't shoot" or protesting America during the national anthem. The NFL never misses an opportunity to grovel to liberals, even when it annoys fans.
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One aspect of football is especially hated by liberals, though. Cheerleaders.
A staple of many American sporting events for generations, the job of a cheerleading squad is to get the crowd fired up to inspire the team and keep the game day experience exciting. But, to feminist groups, they are an infuriating gender stereotype of women.
The NFL's Indianapolis Colts recently announced changes to their cheerleading squad that seem an embarrassing pander to feminists and give fans something nobody was asking for. To begin with, the team has begun referring to the women on the sidelines leading cheers as "athlete performers" instead of the more obvious "cheerleaders." The squad is also debuting new, much more modest uniforms. Finally, the athlete performers are focusing on the women's personal lives and careers outside of "athlete performing." At a recent game the women wore their normal work clothes to lead cheers during the game. They dressed as teachers, paralegals and business people. It was mostly just women on the field during timeouts dressed in random business casual outfits. It was very strange.
A Colts official said "It's important for our fans to know our cheerleaders are well-rounded and accomplished professionals." Is it? According to whom? Are football fans clamoring to know what career choices the cheerleaders have made in their lives outside game day? Are fans demanding only cheerleaders with well-rounded personal interests be allowed to lead cheers?
This is not a matter of sexism. Are fans curious about the outside professional lives of ushers? Ball boys? Those guys that move the first down markers? Other than the biggest stars on the team, fans do not even care about the personal habits of the players. Does anybody care that a second-string offensive lineman is a well-rounded person? Fans just want him to be ready to do his job when sent into the game.
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Can anyone imagine the players dressing for a game in their regular clothes? Or the ushers, ball boys or first down marker guys dressing in their everyday clothes for a game? This whole act reeks of pandering to feminist groups and imposing a nonsensical experience on fans only because the cheerleaders are women.
This comes at the end of an NFL season that saw male dancers added to NFL cheerleading squads for the first time in history – a development demanded by absolutely nobody. The obvious next step is for NFL teams to add transgender cheerleaders (men dressed as women).
At this rate, it would not be unreasonable to expect NFL cheerleading squads to be dropped altogether within a few years. Soon, an NFL, NBA or major college athletic program will ban cheerleading as sexist, degrading and reinforcing gender stereotypes. Once that happens, the floodgates will open. Just like with every leftist initiative, once one institution makes the demanded, change the pressure increases on every other organization to fall in line or be called out with the usual liberal slurs: bigot, sexist, transphobe.
It will be easier to cave to liberals and ban the tradition altogether once cheerleading has been diluted with things fans are not asking for and it becomes just another forced, politically correct distraction during the game.