The San Antonio Spurs reportedly disbanded their all-female cheerleading squad, choosing instead to create a coed hype team that focuses on more “family friendly” entertainment.
The move to end its longtime cheerleader team, confirmed by Spurs Sports and Entertainment in a call to MySanAntonio.com, comes amid news of several controversies and lawsuits regarding other cheerleader teams such as the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Oakland Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals in which former performers have lodged complaints over sexual harassment, sexism and unfair pay practices.
The Spurs did not reveal their reasons for ending the all-woman squad.
The Spurs had released a statement last week announcing the team’s new official 35-member entertainment team, but did not specify how that affected the Silver Dancers — a staple at Spurs home games since 1992. According to the release, auditions will be held over the summer for stunt artists, tumblers, acrobats and cheerleaders as part of the new group.
Rumors about the decision started circulating on social media over the weekend after ESPN San Antonio radio host Jason Mannix posted a tweet saying the dancers “are no more” because of “lack of fan interest.”
Fans have seemingly not wholeheartedly endorsed the change, as #bringbackthechaps began making the rounds on social media. One former Silver Dancer, Michelle Vogel, posted a reply to Mannix’s tweet and post on Facebook, debunking any “lack of fan interest” and instead questioning the team for cracking in the face of the #MeToo movement.
“Does ‘lack of interest’ really mean ‘we don’t want to deal with it,’” she posted.
—Field Level Media