As part of the team’s rebranding efforts, the Washington Football Team will replace female cheerleaders with a coed dance squad for the 2021 season and beyond, according to ESPN’s John Keim.
“With that comes inclusivity, diversity and in my mind, as an entertainer, athleticism,” senior advisor Petra Pope told ESPN by phone. “My desire is to create a team that is all of that — inclusive, diverse, coed, athletic — to set the gold standard in the NFL. We’re looking for that super athlete that can dance, perform tricks and stunts and manipulate whatever props that will create a really great show.”
Washington’s cheerleading squad was the longest-running cheer program in the NFL and had been around for more than 50 seasons.
The Football Team has been under fire since before the 2020 season after former cheerleaders alleged that multiple staff members filmed them while they were naked during a bikini calendar shoot back in 2008 and 2010.
A former staff member claimed the video was recorded for team owner Dan Snyder, which he denied. Washington reached a settlement with the cheerleaders last year, but the NFL still is investigating several other sexual allegations against the Football Team.