Cheerleading is a growing sport in North America and around the world, and for those who don't recognize it as such, the International Olympic Committee has recently given it provisional status as an Olympic sport, meaning it can petition for inclusion at an upcoming Olympic Games. And it should be treated as such. It requires a high level of athleticism, at least for the NCAA competitions that are featured on ESPN. In a sense, it's a team gymnastics sport that requires a similar level of athleticism as numerous Olympic sports and certainly even more so than synchronized swimming.
That's the type of cheerleading serious competitors want us to think of when we hear the word, but despite such high hopes that is far from being the case in North America. Sports like hockey and baseball have limited the role of the scantily-clad cheerleaders who do no more than dance and wave pom poms, but they're still quite active in basketball and certainly in football, where cheerleading is a major part of the culture. Both versions of cheerleading have their share of controversies and it's hard to go more than a week or two without hearing of a scandalous story involving cheerleaders. Below are the 15 most controversial cheerleading-related stories of all-time.
15 Kobe Bryant's Less Scandalous Cheating Story
The entire world knows about Kobe Bryant's infamous sexual assault case that resulted from an encounter with a young woman who worked at the Colorado resort at which Bryant was staying back in July of 2003. Kobe was accused of raping the woman in his hotel room; the case was later dropped when the woman refused to testify, but a settlement was later agreed upon in a civil suit. Surprisingly, his marriage withstood the accusation, due in part to the $4 million diamond ring her purchased his wife Vanessa.
Whether or not Kobe was guilty of the crime of which he was accused, that's a lot of money to shell out to keep a happy wife. But chances are he wasn't just apologizing for the one instance. In fact, Kobe has reportedly cheated on his wife with multiple women, including former Laker Girl Vanessa Curry - no relation to Steph, but she did later join the pop group The Pussycat Dolls.
14 Panthers On The Prowl
This is unquestionably the sexiest cheerleading scandal of the bunch and certainly what you came here for. It might not be all that scandalous by 2017 standards, but it was at the very least incredibly racy at the time. Back in 2006, a pair of Carolina Panthers cheerleaders were arrested following a dispute turned into a brawl at a Florida bar. The two women were apparently taking too long in the bathroom and holding up the line. One might expect they were doing drugs - one of the cheerleaders does have a large nose - but they were actually enjoying the taste of each other's mouth.
Some witnesses alleged the two cheerleaders were actually having sex, but whatever the case, it upset several people waiting in line for the bathroom. The two girls were arrested following the brawl and were subsequently fired by the Panthers.
13 YouTube Beat Down
The cheerleaders who advance to work for professional sports teams have to follow strict professional guidelines and, as such, aren't often the subject of controversy. Sure, sleeping with athletes - or other cheerleaders, as outlined above - can happen every now and then, but it isn't the norm. However, most of the cheerleading scandals involve high school cheerleading teams, where, for the most part, students are more apt to let their emotions get the better of them and find themselves in troubling situations.
That was the case in 2008 when Mulberry High School student Victoria Lindsay was nearly beaten to death after she trash talked her fellow cheerleaders on MySpace. As a form of payback, the other cheerleaders lured Lindsay into a home and filmed themselves beating her bad enough that she temporarily lost her vision and hearing. Rather than keep it quiet, the girls were stupid enough to put it on YouTube, which led to easy charges of false imprisonment and felony battery.
12 Buccaneers Cheerleader Wins The Bachelor
The Bachelor is a completely ridiculous, but somehow popular reality show in which a man must choose a woman to marry after knowing her for about a month or less. Oh, and he's also courting - and sleeping with - several other woman days prior to the wedding. Not surprisingly, few of the marriages actually pan out. One in particular was a nightmare.
Professional fisherman Byron Velvick was the star of the 2004 Bachelor and he chose 36 year old former Tampa Bay Buccaneers cheerleader Mary Delgado as his lovely wife. Three years later, Delgado was arrested for domestic assault after hitting her husband and splitting his upper lip. Needless to say, that was the end for the couple, but Delgado has since remarried, so good luck to that dude.
11 Women Take Steroids Too
We often hear stories of male professional athletes taking steroids to gain a competitive advantage in their respective sport. Athletes in all sports likely still take some form of steroids, but they were no more prominent than during the early 2000s in baseball, when nearly the entire league was taking them. Since they were created, steroids have been associated with men seeking to add muscle mass and improve strength, but one former cheerleader tried to break the stereotype back in 2011.
Samantha Baker was once a cheerleader with the New England Patriots, but in the years prior to 2011, had focused her efforts on becoming a fitness model. Turns out she was so determined to have a perfectly-sculpted body that she turned to steroids. She was arrested in 2011 for possession during a drug bust in Braintree, Massachusetts.
10 Drunk And Rowdy In The Air
Everyone who has been on an airplane can agree just how awful the experience can be when there's a baby crying nonstop throughout the flight. Headphones and other devices have made the experience more tolerable in recent years, but an upset infant can certainly make traveling a pain in the butt. If there's anything worse than crying babies, it's loud, obnoxious, and drunk adults. You might think it'd be less so if those two adults were former cheerleaders, but those women can be the most obnoxious when drunk.
That was the case in 2004 when cheerleader-turned-Playmate Danielle Gamba and fellow Playmate Carrie Minter were arrested following their plane's arrival in San Antonio. The girls were reportedly rowdy and threatening fellow passengers. In an attempt to avoid being arrested, Gambia allegedly made sexual advances at the officer. Judging by her photos, that officer deserves an award for resisting.
9 Wendy Brown Is NOT 15 Years Old
We've shared controversial and sexy cheerleading stories, but this one is partly sad and partly disturbing. Growing up, Wendy Brown wasn't able to make the cheerleading team at her school and she became pregnant at 17 years old, meaning she could try out during her senior year. However, by the time her daughter turned 15, the 33-year-old Brown decided to make another attempt at following her dream.
Because she resembled her daughter, she used her ID and credentials to enroll in a nearby high school in Wisconsin, where she tried out and successfully made the cheerleading team. She even attended classes as well as a pool party hosted by her coach. According to the Daily Mail, she "told investigators she wanted to relive her high school experience, and was found not guilty of identity theft by reason of mental disease or defect in court..."
8 Caitlin Davis Did "Nazi" Her Firing Coming
Social media has been the cause of numerous firings throughout the world. Things you say or do online can have grave repercussions in the real world and, likewise, things you do in real life and post on social media can get you fired. Sometimes it doesn't even have to be that offensive.
In 2008, Caitlin Davis was fired from the New England Patriots cheer squad after posting photos on Facebook which showed her proudly standing over a drunk friend with a permanent marker in her hand. Not surprisingly, the friend was covered in doodles of penises, because who hasn't drawn male genitalia on a passed out friend before? Unfortunately, the friend was also covered in swastikas, which, back in 2008 were still seen as a sign of hate.
7 Cover Girl Turned High School Coach
Upon going over the many cheerleading-related scandals that have rocked the world in recent years, it's quite obvious that Playboy knows where it's most promising market is. Many of the publication's former - and current - models used to be cheerleaders. One woman, however, took the opposite route; Carlie Beck, who previously posed for Playboy - and looked damn fine while doing so - returned to her Alma mater at Casa Roble High School to teach cheerleading.
The former Cyber Girl of the Month was just 21 years old when she accepted the job and was fired once school administrators found out about her past. A group of freshman cheerleaders protested her firing and called her an "amazing coach" and "role model," but her dismissal was final. Fortunately for us, she returned to Playboy shortly after being fired under the name Carlie Christine.
6 Cricket's Gossip Girl
Most of you reading this probably aren't too familiar with Cricket, so it's even less likely you're aware of the once-popular Cricket blog managed by Gabriella Pasqualotto titled "The Secret Life of an IPL Cheerleader." In the blog, the 22 year old South African detailed her after-hours experiences with Cricket players, while also harshly characterizing working class Indians.
She was fired by the team after it was discovered that she was the author of the blog, but she received quite a bit of support from fellow cheerleaders, who agreed with her assessment that they can often be treated like "pieces of meat." One anonymous cheerleader wrote, "At parties, once people are drunk, they get really touchy-freely and misbehave, assuming that we’re easy girls." She later received an offer to star in a Bollywood film, but declined.
5 Tiger Woods Blow Up Doll?!?
In 2010, Tiger Woods had to deal with enough controversy caused by his own scandals of a sexual nature, but it wasn't just escorts and Denny's waitresses who spent time between the sheets with the world's best golfer. Around the same time as his numerous infidelities came to light, members of the New England Patriots cheer team (which, if you've been following, appear to be the most scandalous in the league, mirroring the football team) vacationed in Punta Cana and posted a bunch of steamy photos.
Most of the photos were harmless and what you would expect from a group of beautiful women in their early 20s. But one photo showed the girls on a bed with a Tiger Woods blowup doll. No word on whether it was used or not; regardless, it was quite the gag.
4 Bengals Cheerleader Awarded $11 Million In Damages
Bare with us for a bit because there's a lot to get into regarding former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader Sarah Jones. In 2010, she filed a lawsuit against TheDirty.com founder Nik Ritchie after he posted photos of her with Bengals kicker Shane Graham and stated that she had sexual affairs with multiple players. She was subsequently awarded $11 million in damages, but her actions that followed might lead one to believe that Ritchie's allegations were true.
About a year later, while she worked as a teacher at Dixie Heights High School in Kentucky, she engaged in a sexual relationship with 17 year old student Cody York. She admitted in court to sending him "sexually explicit text messages" and eventually having sex with him. Instead of receiving a sentence that a man might get for such action, Jones received a reality show deal that wisely never came to fruition.
3 Made-For-TV Movie Inspired By Terrifying Events
Most of these scandals are relatively harmless, save for the teenage beatdown, but one cheerleading-related scandal almost resulted in the death of a high school cheerleader. Parents can sometimes be a little too passionate and forceful about what they want for their child and that was true for Wanda Holloway, who desperately wanted her daughter to make her high school's cheerleading squad.
After years of gymnastics in preparation for making the team, her daughter, Shanna, was unfortunately cut from the team. This was good news for Shanna, who actually didn't want to make the team, but her mother was enraged and asked her ex-brother-in-law to kill the mother of a girl on the team in hopes that her death might cause the girl to leave the team. Fortunately, the brother-in-law, Terry Harper, went directly to the police. The strange story inspired a made-for-TV movie titled The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader Murdering Mom.
2 Why Abstinence Is Bad
Saving yourself until marriage is an antiquated, ridiculous notion that is still firmly entrenched among a variety of devout religious people. Nothing against the notion, but teenagers are going to want to experiment, especially in college, and making sex taboo might not always have the desired result. Just ask the parents of Courtney Simpson, who was raised a devout Mormon before attending Arizona State University, where she made the cheer squad and, not surprisingly, began experimenting.
Rather than engaging in a healthy sexual relationship with one of her classmates, Simpson went from being a virgin to going straight into adult entertainment. She shot some scenes while still in college, but someone left a stack of images of her on her parents' doorstep, which resulted in her quitting the team and the school. Unfazed, however, she moved to California to do adult work full-time and even did one particular scene in her ASU uniform.
1 1.Under-Aged Antics
A coach in any sport is supposed to look out for the best interests of his or her athletes, but that was far from the case in January 2007, when former high school cheerleading coach Jill Moore hosted a party that included National Guard members, underage cheerleaders, and plenty of alcohol. Moore was dating a member of the National Guard at the time and wanted her cheer squad to organize a party in recognition of the service they provide their country, but the well-intentioned party was anything but.
Moore provided alcohol for her underage cheerleaders and several of them - including a 16 year old - who hooked up with a guard member. Moore and the school's principal, Jane Blackwell, were arrested for aiding to the delinquency of a minor as well as obstruction of justice.