As part of its embrace of what it calls “inclusiveness” and “strength,” the Washington Football Team (WFT) has prepared to replace its traditional all-female cheerleading squad with a co-ed dance team, the Breitbart News reported Wednesday.
Petra Pope, a senior advisor for the Washington football team, told USA Today that the club’s decision to abandon its traditional all-female cheerleading squad was to promote “super athletic skills, which is something we’re really trying to do.
We want to be more inclusive, so we’re inviting mixed-gender teams to audition,” Popper explained. We’re able to do more with male strength, so that’s going to change a lot. The choreography has changed in terms of inclusiveness, strength and fun.”
Pope emphasized that all cheerleaders from last year are welcome to audition for the 2021 dance team, although the Washington football team’s cheerleading contract has all but expired.
The Washington football team has also faced allegations of sexual harassment, with two WaPo stories last year describing 40 women being sexually harassed, including members of the 2008 and 2010 cheerleading squads, according to USA Today. It also follows allegations that club employees made videos of calendar shoots when women were not fully clothed. The Breitbart News said this may also be another possible motive for the football team’s sudden change in cheerleading philosophy.
Pope also emphasized that future dance teams will not participate in the calendar shoot.