ESPN Highlights Personal Oakland Raiderette Story

In an April 2 feature story in ESPN The Magazine, former Oakland Raiderette, Lacy, shares her personal story about pursuing legal action against the Raiders' organization for serious violations of state and federal wage laws. However, the Raiders are attempting to evade these laws through a forced arbitration clause in the cheerleaders’ employment contract. 

Long before Lacy's boots ever hit the gridiron grass, "I was just hustling," she says. "Very early on, I was spending money like crazy." The salon visits, the makeup, the eyelashes, the tights were almost exclusively paid out of her own pocket. The finishing touch of the Raiderettes' onboarding process was a contract requiring Lacy to attend thrice-weekly practices, dozens of public appearances, photo shoots, fittings and nine-hour shifts at Raiders home games, all in return for a lump sum of $1,250 at the conclusion of the season. (A few days before she filed suit, the team increased her pay to $2,780.) All rights to Lacy's image were surrendered to the Raiders. With fines for everything from forgetting pompoms to gaining weight, the handbook warned that it was entirely possible to "find yourself with no salary at all at the end of the season."

Like hundreds of women who have cheered for the Raiders since 1961, Lacy signed the contract. Unlike the rest of them, she also showed it to a lawyer.

Instead of having their right to fair pay addressed in court, forced arbitration will lock the Raiderettes out of court and funnel them into the NFL’s own dispute mill where their case will be decided by the NFL Commissioner.

The Commissioner’s decision will be final and binding. And if he’s anything like most corporate arbitrators, there’s a good chance he’ll make a bad call.

To read the story in its entirety, click here