The Bailey Davis Case: An Analysis of Sexist Rules of the National Football League

137 views 8 pages ~ 2075 words
Get a Custom Essay Writer Just For You!

Experts in this subject field are ready to write an original essay following your instructions to the dot!

Hire a Writer

Gender equity forms one of the pillars towards the realization of social progress in the societies across the globe. The cultural connotations have created an imbalance in the treatment of male and female in areas of employment, leadership and business opportunities due to the dominance of patriarchy and glass ceiling affecting women development. First world countries including the United States are expected to possess established institutions that foster equity and self-actualization of both genders in the community. However, instances of gender discrimination are prevalent in the United States sparking debates on the effectiveness of the constitutional and statutory regulations and rules governing the conduct of organizations in the fostering gender balance. The need to establish a regulated society has led to the establishment of governing bodies that govern sports, culture, employment, consumer treatment and fair business practices among other sectors of the American society. Organizations in the United States are allowed to establish internal policies that direct on employment practices, employee relations, conduct and conflict resolutions. However, the internal systems of institutions and businesses ought to conform to the constitutional provisions that protect the fundamental rights of the American citizens and develop a balanced society. In the case of the sporting activities such as the American football, the National Football League (NFL) regulates the various teams in the treatment of players, cheerleaders and the technical staff. This paper will analyze the case of the former New Orleans Football team cheerleader Bailey Davis to scrutinize the sexist rules of the NFL towards cheerleaders and how the case informs the concept of gender and communication in the American society.

Artifact: Bailey Davis Case

The case of Bailey Davis who is a former New Orleans NFL cheerleader was featured in the New York Times magazine on March 25th, 2018. The Bailey Davis case artifact revolves around the elements of sexist rules of the NFL which is a renowned sporting organization that has revolutionized American football by incorporating technology and building superstars in the game. While NFL is the overall regulatory body, the organizations have a mandate of ensuring oversight of the teams participating in the national league. The New Orleans Saints management deemed that Bailey Davis had violated the team rules by posting a picture of herself wearing a one-piece outfit on Instagram. During the same period, Bailey Davis was under inquiry for an allegation that she had attended a social party with New Orleans Saints players. The New Orleans Saints rules prohibit the team’s cheerleaders from exhibiting images in seminude, lingerie or nude and by posting the one-piece outfit; Bailey Davis had violated the outlined rules of the NFL team. Upon her dismissal from the New Orleans Saints cheerleader squad, Bailey Davis filed a petition with the Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission (EEOC) which advocates and enforces for the civil rights laws in the United States. Bailey Davis accuses New Orleans Saints of enforcing discriminatory rules in two sets one for its players and another one for the all-women team’s cheerleader squad (New York Times, 2018).

The Bailey Davis’ case fits in the greater context of gender discrimination. The New Orleans Saints rules establish an anti-fraternization policy that calls for the team’s cheerleaders to shun contacts with NFL players on social media or in person and punish women and not the male players in the case of breach of the given policy. The perceived gender-discriminatory policies at New Orleans Saints go on to state that cheerleaders should make their social media accounts private, block NFL players and refrain from posting photos while in the New Orleans Saints’ gear. It is vital to note that the New Orleans Saints’ rules extend to require that a cheerleader must leave a social place such as a restaurant when an NFL player enters or in the case that a player is in the given setting, the cheerleader shall not enter. Bailey Davis is thus filing a case against New Orleans Saints for upholding discriminatory gender rules.

The historical implication of the Davis Bailey case includes the reinstatement of female discrimination in employment, male superiority, the use of women as entertainment objects and the glass ceiling effect in the United States society. The players and the cheerleaders of New Orleans Saints are employees of the team who are subject to equal rights and the same sets of employment policies. The repercussions from the breach of the anti-fraternization policy ought to hold both the players and the cheerleaders as liable. However, the subjective placing of the burden and consequences of maintaining social distance on women is unfair against women while the NFL employment policy that prohibits bias based on sex, religion, age, national origin, race, color, sexual orientation or disability.

The audience of the Bailey Davis case includes the New Orleans Saints, American judiciary, the Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission, the NFL and other cheerleaders in the NFL. The various audiences have a role in shunning gender discrimination and upholding gender equity in the football sport. Legal redress is being provided through the EEOC and the judiciary while the New Orleans Saints and the NFL ought to define policies that are equitable. The cheerleaders are the victims of gender discrimination in the sexist rules of NFL.

Bailey Davis Case Analysis

The Bailey Davis case relates to the Gender Schema Theory which was developed by Sandra Bern in the year 1981. According to Sandra Bern, a person’s cognitive process alongside social influences affect the lines of the schema (thought) outline ‘female’ and ‘male’ traits (Wharton, 2013). Sandra Bern notes that the gender schemas influence not only the information processing but also the beliefs and attitudes that define ‘gender appropriate’ roles. The assertions of the Gender Schema Theory in the Bailey Davis case are evident in that, while the cheerleaders and the NFL players are employees of New Orleans Saints, the female cheerleaders’ role is defined as entertainment and inferior compared to the male’s role in the team. The gender schemas at New Orleans Saints portray the woman as inferior and should be the ones bearing the burden of ensuring that the anti-fraternization policy is observed and a breach of the rule is blamed on them through the bearing of the punishment. The society is schemed to expect women to act and dress in certain ways as seen in the prohibition of revealing clothes by the team on cheerleaders but the NFL players have not being directed on how to dress. The gender schema influence at New Orleans Saints takes precedence in the derivation of the NFL rules that guide the beliefs and attitudes towards the cheerleaders’ conduct and their roles as entertainment personnel. In the case where the gender schema influence was suppressed, the cheerleaders and the players would be accorded equal expectations and an equitable punishment in the case of the breach of the team policies.

Gender dynamics define the manner in which male and female in society behave or treated differently. The Bailey Davis case represents gendered dynamics in the society. Pertinent questions on the relationships, role, expectations, and position of women in the society as far as employment and self-expression characterize the gender-based debates in the contemporary society. The gender dynamics presented in the case of Bailey Davis challenge the social norms that dictate the interactions and relationships among and between women and men. Employment and organizational relationships form a ground for the assessment of gender dynamics (Haltinner & Pilgeram, 2016). Social relationships between the men and women are natural in the society within social or the employment settings. However, the Bailey Davis case depicts ho the women are placed at the point of blame in the case of prohibited relationships. It is evident that the American society expects women to hide and run away for the sake of their protection. The subjective nature of women treatment is reiterated by the fact that despite Bailey Ashley’s Instagram account is private; she was harshly punished. Gender-related grievances are profound in societies, and the establishment of bodies such as the Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission seeks to shift the gender dynamics in the American society and enhance equity. Gender dynamics indicate a prohibition of personal relations in professional setups. However, the placing of responsibility to prevent fraternization on women as seen in the case of Bailey Davis indicates how women are being subjected to unjust policies.

The Bailey Davis case reinforces gendered stereotypes in the American society. The society stereotypes women as vulnerable and that there is need to protect them from being kept out of the limelight. The New Orleans Saints anti-fraternization policy aims to prevent the cheerleaders from being ‘preyed’ by the players. Sexual harassment and domestic violence have marked the women’s struggles in a society that is biased towards male superiority and dominance. However, compelling women to hide for their protection by opening private social media accounts and blocking the potential ‘preys’ does not enhance the quest for social progress where self-expression will be available for everyone. Stereotyping present women as subordinates in employment thus denying them the access to the rights enjoyed by a male (In Henneberg, 2017). In the Bailey Davis case, cheerleaders and players are employees of New Orleans Saints; however, men are not subject to the same conditions as women as far as anti-fraternization is concerned. Gender discrimination is not ethical as it subjects women to hurdles in the pursuit of success and self-expression. While the New Orleans Saints’ management might assert that the anti-fraternization policy aims at protecting the cheerleaders, the case is not accurate as it imposes harsh punishments on women based on their sex. Gender discrimination is common in sporting sectors in that; the field is dominated by male athletes (Owton, 2016). The Bailey Davis case is not unique, and cheerleaders face similar problems across the NFL. Current trends and conventions on gender aspects are shifting towards equal opportunities and openness where self-expression and the ability of individuals to make autonomous decisions is being advocated (In Butler-Wall et al. 2016). The topic of gender and communication in the case of Bailey Davis does not follow conventions provided in the United Constitution on the prohibition of employment discrimination based on sex.


From the case of Bailey Davis, it is apparent that even women in developed states including the United States still struggle against gender discrimination in employment and social self-expression. The NFL has a mandate of ensuring that the team policies adhere to the nation’s legislation that governs employment equity and empowerment of marginalized groups including women. However, the elements of the New Orleans Saints anti-fraternization policy subjects women into harsh punishments and the role of protecting themselves from players while the NFL players face no consequences for pursuing personal relationships with the cheerleaders. The gender schemas embedded in the information processing of both male and female dictate the treatment of women in the society by dictating the roles, beliefs, and attitudes towards women. The gender-biased nature of the society is a hurdle towards social progress in that; individuals cannot express personal feelings, competencies and realize growth in an environment characterized by biased rules. While the various organizations such as the NFL may fail to ensure the observation of civil rights of the employees under its watch, the presence of Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission and the courts of law across the United States provide refuge for gender discrimination victims. There is a dire need for the enlightenment of women on their fundamental rights in that, the case of Bailey Davis is in the limelight, but other cheerleaders still operate in the NFL’s sexist rules system. Gender discrimination is a prominent hurdle towards the establishment of a just society marked with healthy competition, growth, and self-expression. Institutional reforms and societal enlightenment is the step towards gender equity in the United States.


Haltinner, K., & Pilgeram, R. (2016). Teaching Gender and Sex in Contemporary America. Cham: Springer International Publishing. 2016

In Butler-Wall, A., In Cosier, K., & In Harper, R. L. S. (2016). Rethinking sexism, gender, and sexuality. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: A Rethinking Schools Publication, 2016

In Henneberg, S. (2017). Gender politics. New York, NY: Greenhaven Publishing LLC, 2017

New York Times. (2018). How an Instagram Post Led to an N.F.L. Cheerleader’s Discrimination Case. (online). Available at Accessed April 14th, 2018.

Owton, H. (2016). Sexual abuse in sport: A qualitative case study. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. 2016

Wharton, A. S. (2013). The sociology of gender: An introduction to theory and research. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley. 2013

August 01, 2023


Subject area:

Company Football

Number of pages


Number of words




Writer #



Expertise Football
Verified writer

I enjoyed every bit of working with Krypto for three business tasks that I needed to complete. Zero plagiarism and great sources that are always fresh. My professor loves the job! Recommended if you need to keep things unique!

Hire Writer

This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Eliminate the stress of Research and Writing!

Hire one of our experts to create a completely original paper even in 3 hours!

Hire a Pro

Similar Categories