TV & Movies

Dallas Cowboys’ Charlotte Jones Responded To Cheerleader Pay Backlash

The Netflix docuseries America’s Sweethearts has shocked fans.

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 14: The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders perform during the NFC Wild Card game be...
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In case you missed it, the Netflix docuseries America’s Sweethearts: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders has been taking over social media since its June 20 release, and sparking major discourse along the way.

The new show, which follows the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders throughout the 2023 season, unveiled surprising realities about the renowned squad, like they don’t get to keep their uniforms and have to re-audition every year. The show also revealed that many of the cheerleaders still have full-time jobs, because they don’t make enough performing on the team to support themselves.

“I would say I’m making, like, a substitute teacher [salary],” former Cowboys cheerleader Kat Puryear said during one confessional. “I would say I’m making, like, Chick-fil-A worker that works full-time.”

A few of the trainees, such as Kelcey Wetterberg and Anisha Kurukulasuriya, worked in the medical field — Wetterberg is a pediatric nurse, and Kurukulasuriya is an orthodontist — while others who moved to Dallas for the squad, like Reece Allman and Ari McClure, had to find gigs to supplement their income.

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This came as a shock to many viewers, some of whom shared their anger on the team’s social media accounts. Many people specifically called out Charlotte Jones, the Dallas Cowboys chief brand officer, whose family runs the organization and who was featured heavily on the show.

On Friday, Jones responded to the frustration, saying that the women don’t audition for money, but rather for “sisterhood” and a “passion for dance” in a field where there aren’t a lot of opportunities “to perform at an elite level.”

“There’s a lot of cynicism around pay for NFL cheerleaders, as there should be,” Jones told Dallas Morning News. “They’re not paid a lot. But the facts are that they actually don’t come here for the money. They come here for something that’s actually bigger than that to them.”

How Much Money Do Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Make?

NBC reported that Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders earned about $500 per game in 2022, which breaks down to about $15 to $20 an hour. That’s higher than the NFL average, which is about $150 per game (or $22,500 per year) on average. In comparison, the NFL water boys made an average $53,000 per year in 2022, and the NFL mascots made about $25,000 per season.

According to Forbes, the Dallas Cowboys were the NFL’s most valuable team last year, estimated at a worth of $9 billion.

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Last week, a Cowboys spokesperson told Sports Illustrated that the team “pays cheerleaders for games, practices and appearances and covers the cost of uniforms, some meals, health club memberships and salon services.”

With that being said, docuseries director Greg Whiteley told Glamour that he never got a clear answer on how much a cheerleader actually made. “I think that’s because it varies depending on how senior you are in the group,” he told the outlet. “You may even get paid more if you’re a group leader, though that was never clear to me.”