Courtney Lenz is a five-year veteran of the Baltimore Ravens cheerleading squad, and she weighs 124 pounds. This wouldn’t be of particular importance if the Baltimore Ravens hadn’t benched her for the Super Bowl for being overweight. Lenz went on Access Hollywood last night to discuss the recent development, and she’s less than pleased because she thinks the Ravens screwed her out of a Super Bowl appearance.
We’ll let her tell the story, transcribed by the Los Angeles Times:
“‘They said that I had quote, unquote, a rough year,’ Lenz said. ‘I’d been benched earlier in the season for a little bit of a weight gain. We do get weighed every week during the season, and you can’t fluctuate at all. I gained, I think it was 1.8 pounds. I had been consistent and they let me cheer previously and then I gained 1.8 or 1.6 pounds and they said because I had gained weight and they wanted me to be consistent or they wanted me to lose, they benched me for a game and because it was a disciplinary action, that was the reason.'”
Here’s what she says she was benched for initially:
“‘During the season, I was 124. That was consistently, they wanted me to get back down to 121, 120, which is what I was at when I was 18, 19, when I started on the team,’ she said. ‘That was the only disciplinary action I had during the year. I got benched because of my weight, and they said that was the reason. Anybody that had disciplinary action taken during the season was automatically disqualified [from the Super Bowl]. However, there are some girls on the team that were also benched for their weight, and are going. So they just aren’t consistent, it isn’t fair. That’s why I brought this to the attention of the fans because what they’re doing is not right.'”
The Ravens have responded to the story, crafting an image of Lenz as a sore loser.
“As set by the NFL, we are permitted to bring 32 cheerleaders to the Super Bowl. Our selection process was based upon three criteria: seniority, performance ability and personal conduct throughout the season. As much as we would like to take the whole team, we are unable to do so, due to parameters set by the NFL.”
Lenz is the most senior member of the 28 girls not going to the Super Bowl (the team has 60 members), so by definition, it had something to do with performance ability or personal conduct. But according to Lenz, her only “discipline” was a reprimand for being overweight earlier in the season – once in October and again in November – and she did not mention any instances in which her performance ability was discussed.
The Ravens’ website also stipulates scertain criteria for cheerleaders and weight is not one of them. But physical appearance most definitely is. Here are the audition requirements to even make the squad:
What should I wear to the auditions?
Sports bra or crop top with stomach showing.
Short biker, shorts or trunks
Dance sneaker or jazz shoes
Flesh colored panty hose, dance tights or bare legged
Must be clean shaven and nice hair cut
And some other requirements:
Are there any height to weight restrictions?
You should be in overall great shape. We do not have a height to weight requirement. We have no maximum or minimum weight requirement.
So, de facto weight requirements. We don’t care how much you weigh, numerically, but show us your stomach. Lenz, however, tells a different story, saying that those numbers were finite and team members were weighed on a weekly basis.
You can watch the entire interview below and judge for yourself: