It is often said that social media is the devil’s mouthpiece, and a classic case of that theory played out this week regarding a recent alumni of the Green Bay Packers cheerleading group.
An unofficial Chicago Bears Facebook page showed a picture of then-cheerleader Kaitlyn Collins, and invited followers to ‘like’ acknowledging that the Packers have ‘the worst cheerleaders in the NFL’.
This led to hundreds of posts from subscribers who piled on the image of the cheerleader with numerous vile and personally offending comments.
The episode ultimately grabbed national headlines and led to Ms. Collins posting a video later in the week (700,000 hits and counting as of 2/9/13) in which she silently displayed signs, beginning with a sampling of the posts made belittling her with the subscribers ‘handles. It was well played on Ms. Collins part.
And speaking from a couple of isolated experiences in social media, I very much understand the personal hurt that results.
Not to single out the Chicago Bears fan base, but before people post a bunch of juvenile garbage on the Internet perhaps they should be educated on the subject at hand.
First and foremost, the Packers have not had a ‘professional’ cheerleading squad since 1986.
In the latter-part of the 1970s, the Packers, along with many other teams (including the Bears), tried emulating the success of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders by starting their own cheer/dance groups. The Packers cheerleaders during that era were known as the Sideliners.
In 2007 the Packers got back into the cheerleading business with a much different twist. The cheerleaders are actually local college students from schools in the area such as the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and St. Norbert’s College. They appear at the game on an unpaid basis.
If you want to compare the Packers’ current setup with the Cowboys cheerleaders and other NFL dance teams, who rehearse and train as professionals, then perhaps technically the Packers are guilty as charged for having ‘the worst cheerleaders in the NFL.
On the other side of the ledger of the cut-throat pro sports cheer industry was the case of a Baltimore Ravens cheerleader being released from the squad prior to the Super Bowl for reportedly gaining a mere two pounds.
Before a group of people online get in on the mob mentality of taking pot shots on a subject they have no research on, consider the following…
The Chicago Bears have not had a cheerleading squad since 1986.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Bears actually had one of the more acclaimed squads outside of the Dallas cheerleaders. They were known as the Honey Bears.
By 1985, owner Virginia McCaskey concluded that scantily-clad cheerleaders did not need to be part of the experience of attending a pro football game. The Honey Bears’ last performance was when Chicago played in Super Bowl XX, and the franchise has not employed a cheerleading squad since.
There are several markets where pro sideline cheerleaders simply do not play. The Packers recently waded back into the cheerleading waters with the college students from UWGB and other local schools.
It works perfectly: it’s classy, and it fits the experience of a Green Bay game day.
The mob mentality of groups of people taking cheap personal shots at others was not limited to this case this week. Duke University students allegedly taunted an opposing player whose grandmother had passed away.
But Dukies have the right. Their parents pay a ton of money for their kids to go to school there, and it is all part of the intimidating home court advantage of Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Hopefully everyone realizes that was just said tongue and cheek.
And like the Bears/Facebook case, those Duke students represent only a minority of the people in the actual group.
It’s like the people who enjoy yelling at random people out of car windows. Some just cannot resist.
If you like sex objects such as the Dallas cheerleaders, the Laker Girls, and the Luvabulls, by all means enjoy.
If you also enjoy spirited discussion and debate on social media from anything ranging from sports and rivalries to politics – likewise go ahead and knock yourself out.
Just try not to act like a 12-year old.
Have some etiquette regarding an individual you do not know for any reason except wearing colors representing the rival team.