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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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