Former NFL cheerleaders say they're fighting back against gender discrimination

Kristan Ann Ware, who danced for the Miami Dolphins, and Bailey Davis, who cheered for the New Orleans Saints, say there were different sets of rules for cheerleaders and players.
7:46 | 05/02/18

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Transcript for Former NFL cheerleaders say they're fighting back against gender discrimination
They asked you about your virginity? Your sex life? It was shocking. I mean -- it damaged me. I was broken. My spirit was kind of pressed on all sides. He said, oh, it's no question, you're fired. And that I had a dirty face in the photo and it wasn't classy. Looking at these images what's your reaction to the fact that you were fired for this one, and asked to pose for this one? It just shows you the control that they want to have over us. Reporter: Former NFL cheerleaders, Kristin Ann ware and Bailey Davis, say they're done being sidelined. Now fighting back against what they allege is gender discrimination by their teams and the national football league. Highlighting a double standard now resonating in the "Me too" era. There's such a sense of control and ownership that they have over you. Not only on the field in your uniform in your personal life as well. Reporter: Cheering for the NFL was their dream job which they both did for three year they say without a single write-up. Beneath the glamor they say was something ugly that left them feeling shattered. Kristin Ann danced for the Miami dolphins. That's her in the team's promo video. Bailey cheered for the new Orleans saints and can also be spotted in this saints-sations video. For Bailey cheering is a family business. Her mom was a coach. She says she was fired after putting this one photo on social media, deemed a violation of policy, according to saints management. I was shocked. I'm assuming he meant it was a sexual picture and he told me by posing I was seeking players' attention. When I posted it, it was a full-body shot for dance auditions. It looked athletic. This is a sanctioned photo. Which do you think shows more skin? The one on the left. They picked out that swimsuit for me. Reporter: She says the team tightly controlled her image, an unfair standard that didn't apply to players. They can pose shirtless and it's seen as athletic. They can pose with alcohol and promote the brand. They can make extra money promoting brands. Doing underwear modeling for Nike. I can't do anything like that. Reporter: Bailey says cheerleaders depend on their social media accounts to market themselves. It's a big part of getting out there and being discovered. Reporter: Since 2014, there have been several lawsuits against NFL teams over unfair pay. None of the teams admitted wrongdoing, but four settled with some cheerleaders receiving a payout. When you calculate the makeup, spray tans, nails done, it comes out even. You broke even? Uh-huh. Reporter: Bailey says cheerleaders face other extreme restrictions. They are forbidden from being seen in close proximity or socializing with any players or management or coaches. If caught, it's grounds for immediate termination. It's our job to stay away from these restaurants, from these bars, and on the field, to not make eye contact. One time there was a player actually standing in the doorway of our locker room and we had to stand there and wait for him to finish his granola bar before we could walk into our locker room. Reporter: On the field you can clearly see Bailey dancing alongside the players in this saints-sations video. But off the field they must block players on social media and avoid all contact. What were they so afraid of? They said it was for our protection. They told us like, you're pretty girls, it's happened in the past, they're going to try to talk to you. Then they say the players are players, they just want to use you. As a cheerleader you've worked your whole life to get here, but you have to keep looking over your shoulder. What happens if a player is in here and I get caught in the same location? It gives them fear. Reporter: Bailey's lawyer says the fraterization policy is a textbook case of gender discrimination. As a gender enemployer you're like, you never get stuff this blatant. The saints talked about their players as predators. That's offensive to the football player. It's the cheerleaders' jobs to run away. Reporter: The team told ABC news the New Orleans saints is an equal opportunity employer and denies Ms. Davis was discriminated against because she is female. And the organization is confident that its policies and workplace rules will withstand legal scrutiny. Like Bailey, Kristin Ann says she too felt silenced and humiliated when she claims her coaches brought up her decision to remain a virgin until marriage. She interrupted me and told me that as far as they're concerned I've taken something that was once upon a time pure and beautiful and I've made it dirty. It broke me a little bit. To tell me that my virginity is dirty is almost as if you're saying god is dirty. Reporter: A born-again Christian, Kristin Ann says she made a purity pledge at age 14. And never hid her religious convictions, even using her public Instagram account to share her beliefs. The team's cocaptain and a fan favorite endured what she says amounts to religious discrimination and retaliation. She says she was told by a superior to no longer discuss her virginity. I felt like the way I was being treated, they were making me choose. Do you want a Christian or do you want to be a cheerleader? Reporter: She says she eventually reported the alleged mistreatment to Miami dolphins human resources. But she says reporting only made it worse. I had to give it to god. Having him was more important than losing my identity and a uniform, so I quit. I saw the football players praying on the field, publicly, able to express their faith without limitations. And I have to stand there with, you know, a smile on my lips and hands on my hips and just feel like I'm in a trapped cage where I have to be silent about god. Reporter: Her lawyer says cheerleaders are often intimidated into remaining silent. You're not special, you're just a girl in a uniform, we'll put it on someone else. Reporter: The Miami dolphins has told ABC news, we are committed to providing a positive work environment for everyone associated with the organization. We hold every member of our organization to the same standards and do not discriminate as it relates to gender, race, and religious beliefs. The employment contracts Bailey and Kristin Ann signed prevent them from suing so they filed complaints against their teams and the NFL with the equal employment opportunity commission. And a Florida agency. Our goal is to be heard. Reporter: They say they're willing to settle their gender discrimination claims for a dollar apiece if commissioner Goodell would agree to a four-hour good faith meeting. Not many people get four-hour meetings with Roger Goodell. What would you say to him? We're not placing blame, we're not asking for an apology, we're hoping to reach the goal of having fair and equal rules that are free of discrimination. Reporter: The NFL has told ABC news they support fair employment practices. Everyone who works in the NFL, including cheerleaders, has the right to work in a positive and respectful environment that is free from any and all forms of harassment and discrimination and fully complies with state and federal laws." Blackwell says the league has until this Friday to respond to their settlement agreement. What role, if any, do you think the players play in all of this? I just would be so excited if a football player said, you know what, we continue want that in our league, we want gender to be equal. And I feel like the football players haven't said anything. Reporter: For now, Kristin Ann and Bailey say they're cheering for themselves and other women. Don't be silent. Know your worth. Stand up for yourself. And this is the year of the woman. And we are stronger when we stand together and empower each other, and we do not have to be treated as anything less than a man. I want women to know that they are here not only just to be seen and looked at, but they have a god-given voice. And you can use that to make a difference. And we can empower women.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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