Ever since the Raiders were slapped with a class-action lawsuit by the Raiderettes over unfair wages, the team, as well as NFL cheerleading as a whole, has been under the microscope.
As such, something glorious has occurred. The LA Times says it has gotten its hands on the “super-secret” Raiderette handbook, and it is nothing short of AMAZING.
We already got an idea as to what type of frivolous offenses for which the Raiderettes are subject to fines out of their already meager wages—things like bringing the wrong pom-poms to practice or forgetting to bring a yoga mat.
Little did we know that was just the tip of the iceberg. Based on the info the Times provides, the handbook is breathtakingly insulting to the human intelligence, going into excruciating detail as it relates to basic, innate social skills that even young children possess, while the protocol on workplace relationships sounds as if it was written by Roger Sterling in an ill-advised attempt at being politically correct. It’s as if the Raiders believe the women who become Raiderettes are an uncivilized species beamed to Earth from a distant planet whose sole purpose is to dance, wave pom-poms and serve as potential slampieces for the players and know how to do little else.
Where do we even begin?
A handshake, says the guide, “is an American custom that should be extended immediately upon introduction. A handshake should last about three seconds, be firm, and be web to web.”
“If you don’t like your meal, try a little of everything and strategically move the rest around your plate.” […] “If you need to leave the table, place the napkin on your chair, and don’t forget to say, ‘Excuse me.’”
But the real cherry comes with the handbook’s exclamation point-laden section on fraternization, which arguably comes across as straight-up sexist. According to the Times, the Raiders are the only team in the league that doesn’t have an explicit policy forbidding the cheerleaders interacting with players and other team personnel, although the guide “STRONGLY” (all caps so you know they really mean it) recommends against it.
But if the Raiderettes just so happen to find themselves engaging in a budding romance with a player or staff member, the handbook goes into rich detail as to how best to pursue these relationships, and it is a doozy. A sampling from the Times (emphasis ours):
“Make a point to find out if a player is married,” the handbook urges. “In most cases, he won’t tell you! You can call the Raider office with questions about marital status and I encourage you to do so. Again, he will not tell you he’s married!”
And let’s not leave out the wolves in the front office: “There are some young men on the Raider staff who are married and yet some of the Raiderettes like to call them ‘just to chat.’ No matter how innocent the friendship may be, the fact that you may pop in to visit them when you are in the Raider facility does not look good to others – particularly their wives!”
“There’s not a female alive (or male either) who doesn’t like attention. But you need to learn to deal with attention you receive from the public (and especially the players) without it getting out of hand and going to your head.”
The handbook also urges against attending parties hosted by players because there was an incident of date rape involving a player at one fiesta some number of years back. Does the team have that little confidence in its players’ ability to take “no” for an answer?
But the handbook does inform us of the few marriages and children that have resulted from previous Raider-Raiderette relations. Who needs Match.com when you can be a Raiderette?
Anyway, from what we can gather, being a Raiderette essentially boils down to these three basic principles: having a firm handshake, bringing a yoga mat to practice and keeping a running tally of which players on the team are wifed up.