NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
A former cheerleader for the Milwaukee Bucks filed a wage theft lawsuit against the team.
ALBANY — A group of state lawmakers are calling on the NBA to come clean about how it treats its cheerleaders.
In an “open letter” to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, the lawmakers urged the league to disclose the employment status of cheerleaders for all its 30 teams.
“Fans, policy makers and lawmakers have a right to know more about how this iconic institution values the women it profits off of,” said Queens Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, a Democrat.
Rozic was joined in the letter by State Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) and California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego).
Queens Assemblywoman Nily Rozic was one of the lawmakers that urged the NBA to disclose the employment status of cheerleaders for its teams.
The letter was sparked by a wage theft lawsuit brought against the Milwaukee Bucks by former cheerleader Lauren Herington and several similar lawsuits brought by cheerleaders against NFL teams, including the Jets and Buffalo Bills.
“Teams always are making money off the cheerleaders but just they treat us like indentured servants,” said Herington, who joined Rozic on a conference call with reporters Monday.
Herington said she was paid flat rates of $ 65 per game, $ 30 for practices and $ 50 for any special appearances. In total, she estimated she worked more than 1,000 hours and received, on average, about $ 5 an hour.
The New York Jets is one of several professional sports teams that have gotten into legal trouble for not treating or paying cheerleaders fairly.
Rozic and Savino, who have also called on the NFL to give its cheerleaders better pay, have introduced legislation in Albany requiring that professional sports teams treat cheerleaders as traditional employees not outside contractors, guaranteeing them a minimum wage and state labor protections.
“We are all here to say it shouldn’t take lawsuits and legislation to get the NBA to follow well established labor law,” Rozic said. “If you care about the players, the teams and the game, you should probably care about the cheerleaders.”
NBA officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily News.