Sunday, February 2, 2014

Raiders OF The Lost Ark Of Minimum Wage

Here is a football related story that can make the Super Bowl cut. Most male football fans fortunate enough to have the funds to pay for sky high tickets, sky high parking fees, and sky high prices for concessions that are miniscule in portion size and way below par in terms of taste really enjoy the beauty, artistry, rhythm, and grace of the NFL cheerleaders on the sidelines. Ditto for the millions watching at home or in a sports bar--probably the next best thing to watching a Victoria Secrets commercial.
     Most of us suspect that the owners of the NFL franchises are very, very wealthy men; and they would be right. We also know that the average salaries of NFL players are well north of a million a year. Even counting just the minimum salary requirements of a NFL player that start out for a rookie in 2014 at $405,000 and increase with each year of experience to $955,000 for a 10 year veteran, the players make a good deal of money, albeit with great injury risk and longevity risk. Even the lowly practice squad members who do not play on game day make $6,000 a week, running the same injury risk.
    Those icons of beauty, grace and stunning uniforms make far less, far less than minimum wage, counting in all of the mandatory practice and appearance time. Raiderettes are paid a paltry sum of $125 a game, which is about $2 more than the average cost of a ticket, one beer, one hot dog, a program and parking at an NFL game.  A Raiderette has just filed a lawsuit over the Raiders' violation of California's Labor Code for failing to pay minimum wages--really hope she wins; after all the owners clearly can afford to pony up (with apologies to the Denver mascot) some more dollars to the cheerleaders. At least the owners of the Broncos and Seahawks do not have to contend with a similar suit by their respective mascots as they are both animals.
     Could not resist a muse comment on the suit, even weaving in the fact that intern staffers  in D.C. are usually paid nothing and female staffers in the White House are paid less than their male counterparts. Enjoy the game, hope you enjoy the poem.

Raiders of the Lost Ark of Minimum Wage
It is ironic to read so near to the observance of National Freedom Day
About a law suit by a Raiderette against the Raiders over almost slave labor pay
Maybe being a Raiderette is a film or modeling career launching pad
But if the allegations are true, it looks like the Raiderettes have been had
Practices, appearances and game time cheers and orchestrated struts
Computes at $5 an hour which does not to our Labor Code measure up
NFL football is a violent sport owned by billionaires
Played by the most part by short term millionaires
Urged on by cheer leaders flashing smiles in outfits almost bare
But paid serf wages paid with C.S. deductions if not illegal, somewhat unfair
Sex sells and the Raiderettes symbolize most male fans’ dream of dreams
Given the Raider losing records, why else pay such rates to watch a losing team?
It may be that being a Raiderette like a Laker Girl is a springboard to an acting or modeling career
Still that is not an excuse for below minimum wage payments a jury will want to hear
With a Raider player payroll of over 100 million one would think a few dollars more
Would not cause player loss, a B/K filing or the shutting of the stadium doors
This non Raider fan hopes the Raiderette prevails with penalties and fines
Certainly would make fans feel better watching that bouncing, smiling Raiderette line
At most the added cost might add a penny if that to a ticket already priced in the stratosphere
Where is Obama or Brown to sign the order compelling at least minimum wage for Raiderettes leading the cheers
If Obama and Congress were to join this noble crusade a slight suggestion to follow
That would render their living wage and gender pay equality cries less hollow
Obama needs to pay his women staffers the same as men
Congress' practice of paying interns no wage or below minimum should also end.
Such acts would end the hypocrisy that in D.C. is unchained and runs amok
At least Al Davis was openly frugal with his dollars that in his pocket were stuck

© February 2, 2012 Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet

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