Buffalo Bills cheerleaders suspend operations

By JOHN WAWROW - AP Sports Writer
    2014-04-24 21:47

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Pack up the pom-poms in Buffalo, because the Bills will be playing without the support of their official cheerleaders this year.

Stephanie Mateczun, whose company manages the Buffalo Jills cheerleading squad, said Thursday she has suspended operations through at least the end of the season. The decision was made two days after five former Jills filed a lawsuit complaining they worked hundreds of hours for free, and were subjected to groping and sexual comments.

The civil action was filed in state Supreme Court and seeks unspecified back pay and legal fees. It names Mateczun's company, Stejon Productions Corp., the Bills, and the Jills' former manager, Citadel Communications Co., as defendants. Stejon took over managing the cheerleaders in 2011.

Mateczun is in the process of hiring legal representation, and declined further comment.

The Bills have been made aware of the Jills' decision to suspend operations, but otherwise declined comment.

Lawyer Frank Dolce, who represents the five cheerleaders, said the decision to suspend operations won't affect his case because it addresses past complaints.

Dolce, however, did question Mateczun's motives, saying her decision to suspend the squad was unnecessary.

''If they cease operations, they will blame the lawsuit for the destruction of the Jills, when that was not intended at all,'' Dolce said, noting there is not much money at stake in the lawsuit.

''We love the Bills. We love the Jills,'' he said. ''We do not love the travesty of its management that has occurred over the last few years.''

According to the Buffalo Jills Alumni website, the squad was formed in 1967, eight years after the Bills were established as founding members of the American Football League. In 1986, the Bills relinquished managing the cheerleaders to private companies.

Cheerleaders have launched similar suits against the Oakland Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals.

The case against the Bills claims the Jills are wrongly classified as independent contractors and subjected to policies that violate the state's $8 per hour minimum wage law and other workplace rules.

The Jills aren't paid for games or practices and have to make 20-35 appearances, most of which are unpaid, at community and charity events each season, the lawsuit said. On top of that, they have to pay $650 for their uniforms and are not reimbursed for travel or other expenses, the cheerleaders said.

All five cheerleaders said they had to take a ''jiggle test'' so that Mateczun, Stejon's president, could assess their physiques. And Mateczun, they said, controlled everything from their hair and nail polish color to what they could post on Facebook.

The time and expense, as well as rules governing their personal lives, far exceeded what they signed on for, the women said.

Dolce and his clients hope their legal action leads to policy changes within the Bills' organization that ensure future cheerleaders are paid and treated better.

''A decision to disband the Jills as an entity is a tremendous mistake for community spirit,'' Dolce said. ''We do not feel bad that Stejon Productions has ceased operations. We think that's a good thing. We just hope the Bills don't trivialize the Jills because of the poor management of them.''


Associated Press writer Carolyn Thompson contributed to this report.


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Peyton ManningNov 24 08:53p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (foot, ribs) will miss at least the next two weeks as he continues to recover from a partially torn plantar fascia and a rib [ More ]

Tyrod TaylorNov 24 07:13p

Updating a previous report, Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor (shoulder) is dealing with a shoulder injury, and head coach Rex Ryan expects Taylor to be able to play in [ More ]

Chip KellyNov 24 06:43p

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly may not return as head coach of the Eagles next year, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Schefter said momentum and signs seem [ More ]

B.J. DanielsNov 24 06:13p

The Seattle Seahawks re-signed WR B.J. Daniels to the active roster Tuesday, Nov. 24.

Matt ForteNov 24 05:33p

Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte (knee) and WR Alshon Jeffery (groin) are both expected to suit up in Week 12 against the Green Bay Packers Thursday, Nov. 26. Both [ More ]

Aaron DobsonNov 24 05:23p

Updating a previous report, New England Patriots WR Aaron Dobson (ankle) is expected to miss at least Week 12 with an ankle injury, and possibly more time. Dobson's X-rays were negative, though.

Danny AmendolaNov 24 05:13p

New England Patriots WR Danny Amendola (knee) suffered a knee sprain in a Week 11 win over the Buffalo Bills. He is not expected to miss extended time, though. [ More ]

Jimmy ClausenNov 24 04:33p

Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Nov. 24, with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a torn medial collateral ligament. Free-agent QB [ More ]

Joe FlaccoNov 24 04:33p

Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Nov. 24, with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a torn medial collateral ligament. Free-agent QB [ More ]

Sam BradfordNov 24 04:23p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (shoulder, concussion) had 'some memory loss' after sustaining a concussion in Week 10, and he also said his separated left shoulder could keep him [ More ]

Josh McCownNov 24 04:03p

Cleveland Browns QB Josh McCown will start in Week 12. QB Austin Davis will serve as backup, while QB Johnny Manziel will be Cleveland's No. 3 quarterback.

Johnny ManzielNov 24 04:03p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel will serve as the Browns' No. 3 quarterback in Week 12. QB Josh McCown will start.

Zach ErtzNov 24 03:03p

Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz (concussion) will not play Thursday, Nov. 26, against the Detroit Lions as he will still be in the concussion protocol.

Bryce BrownNov 24 02:13p

Free-agent RB Bryce Brown (Seahawks) is re-signing with the Seattle Seahawks Tuesday, Nov. 24.

Colin KaepernickNov 24 01:13p

San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick (shoulder) had surgery to fix a torn labrum in his left shoulder Tuesday, Nov. 24, and he is expected to need a recovery [ More ]

Devin FunchessNov 24 12:23p

Carolina Panthers WR Devin Funchess is showing signs of becoming a similar receiver to teammate WR Kelvin Benjamin, who caught 73 passes for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns in [ More ]

Tyrod TaylorNov 24 12:03p

Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor's (chest) availability for Week 12 against the Kansas City Chiefs is unknown, but head coach Rex Ryan hopes his quarterback will be available. Ryan [ More ]

Sam BradfordNov 24 11:03a

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (concussion, shoulder) cleared the concussion protocol Tuesday, Nov. 24, but it's unknown if he'll start Thursday, Nov. 26.

Ryan MathewsNov 24 10:53a

Philadelphia Eagles RB Ryan Mathews (concussion) is still in the concussion protocol Tuesday, Nov. 24, and remains out of practice.

Danny AmendolaNov 23 11:13p

New England Patriots WR Danny Amendola (knee) suffered a right knee injury on a non-contact play on a punt return in the third quarter of the Week 11 game [ More ]

Aaron DobsonNov 23 07:23p

New England Patriots WR Aaron Dobson (back) is officially active for the Week 11 game against the Buffalo Bills.

Marshawn LynchNov 23 07:13p

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (abdomen) is not expected to play in the Week 12 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The team is expected to find out Tuesday, Nov. [ More ]

Jamie CollinsNov 23 07:13p

The New England Patriots have declared LB Jamie Collins, WR Julian Edelman, CB Justin Coleman, WR Keshawn Martin, DL Sealver Siliga, OG Tre Jackson, DL Trey Flowers inactive for Week 11.

Anthony McCoyNov 23 05:33p

Washington Redskins TE Anthony McCoy was waived Monday, Nov. 23. Free-agent TE Je'Ron Hamm (Redskins) was re-signed to the Redskins' practice squad.

Emmanuel SandersNov 23 04:53p

Denver Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (ankle) is dealing with a high-ankle sprain. Sanders hopes to play in Week 12, and added that Monday, Nov. 23, was the first day [ More ]

Marshawn LynchNov 23 04:33p

Updating a previous report, Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (abdomen) is traveling to meet with a specialist Monday, Nov. 23, after sitting out with an abdominal injury in Week [ More ]

Ryan FitzpatrickNov 23 03:53p

New York Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will remain the starter in Week 12 against the Miami Dolphins, according to head coach Todd Bowles.

Brian HoyerNov 23 03:43p

Houston Texans QB Brian Hoyer (concussion) will start in Week 12 after passing his final concussion test, according to head coach Bill O'Brien.

Joseph MorganNov 23 03:13p

Baltimore Ravens WR Joe Morgan was waived Monday, Nov. 23.

Devonta FreemanNov 23 03:03p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman (concussion) is off to a good start in the NFL-mandated concussion protocol, according to head coach Dan Quinn.

Peyton ManningNov 23 02:33p

Denver Broncos QB Brock Osweiler is not Denver's permanent starting quarterback for the rest of the season, according to sources. QB Peyton Manning (foot) is expected to start again once he is healthy.

Mark SanchezNov 23 02:03p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Mark Sanchez appears to be the leading candidate to start in the Week 12 game against the Detroit Lions Thursday, Nov. 26, according to OT Lane Johnson.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
Player Notes:
Forum Posts:

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group