Buffalo Bills cheerleaders suspend operations amid legal battle

Buffalo Jills perform in the second half of NFL pre-season action between the Buffalo Bills and the...

Buffalo Jills perform in the second half of NFL pre-season action between the Buffalo Bills and the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Rogers Centre on August 14th, 2008. (QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:35 AM ET

Mired in a legal battle with the NFL franchise, the Buffalo Bills' cheerleading squad has suspended its operations until further notice.

The 35-member cheer team, named the Buffalo Jills, won't be taking the field for the Bills' home opener versus the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 14, according to Stephanie Mateczun, whose company, Stejon Productions Corporation, manages the team.

"When the time is right, I will be making a statement," Mateczun told the Buffalo News, adding that the length of the Jills suspension has not yet been determined.

Five former Jills filed a lawsuit on Tuesday that claims a severe lack of pay, degrading treatment, as well as deducted pay based on rule infractions. Members of the cheer team routinely log 840 hours of unpaid labour per year, according to the suit.

The Bills have acknowledged the legal situation but have not commented.

However, the Buffalo Jills Alumni Association has piped up -- and it isn't exactly offering the five upset alumni a glowing endorsement. They told the Buffalo News the lawsuit is "petty" and "self-serving."

"Since the inception of the Buffalo Jills in 1967, there's been over 600 Buffalo Jills, so please don't judge the Jills or the Jills alumni on the basis of a complaint by five malcontents," said Chris Polito, chairwoman of the alumni group's board of governors.

"They do not define the experience."

On top of their game day duties, Jills practice twice a week, make 20-35 community appearances per year and attend six annual events, the suit claims.

The Bills are not the first NFL franchise to deal with a cheerleader-related lawsuit this year. The Cincinnati Bengals and Oakland Raiders are also fighting legal battles over wages.

Buffalo Jills Suit


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