A former Texans cheerleader who says cheer director Alto Gary derided her as “skinny fat” and applied duct tape to her stomach before a 2017 game added her name Friday to one of two lawsuits filed against the team over payment and workplace issues.
Angelina Rosa, a two-year member of the cheerleading squad who said she also was a dancer for the Chicago Bulls and a member of the Astros’ Shooting Stars group, is the 10th cheerleader to join one of two suits filed against the team in Houston federal court.
Rosa is the sixth former cheerleader to sign on as a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred and Houston attorney Kimberly Spurlock. Four have joined a suit filed by Houston attorney Bruse Loyd seeking class action status.
While descriptions of the duct-taping incident were included in both lawsuits, Friday was the first time that Rosa was identified as the affected cheerleader.
Both lawsuits accuse the Texans of failing to pay minimum wage and overtime for hours spent on the job, and both allege other workplace violations.
The Texans have denied the allegations and have filed motions seeking their dismissal. If the cases are not dismissed, the Texans want them delayed while allegations are submitted to arbitration before NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Since the lawsuits were filed, several former cheerleaders have told local news outlets, including the Chronicle, that they were not subjected to the abuses described by their fellow former cheerleaders.
I had noted before that the Texans had filed for dismissal of one of the lawsuits, and I had wondered about the other one. Now I know. As far as the denial by some other cheerleaders about the allegations made in these lawsuits, that’s of interest and would surely be a key pillar of the defense if this ever makes it to a courtroom, but the presence of some cheerleaders – even many cheerleaders – who say they were not abused or harassed does not have any bearing on the testimony of those who say they were. One can be both credibly accused of bad behavior, and also credibly defended by others who say “that never happened to me”. The defense against harassment by some other members of the Texans’ cheerleading squad also doesn’t address the claims of wage theft. We are still a very long way from a resolution here.