Ravens Spark Fan Outrage After Barring Veteran Cheerleader from Super Bowl
The Baltimore Ravens have packed up the football family and headed to New Orleans. In the process, however, they forgot a cheerleader who has been with them the past five years, causing quite the fan vitriol as a result.
A time usually spent stoking the embers of goodwill has pretty much been doused with a bit of humility, as one cheerleader who feels she has been wronged has decided to speak out on the issue.
Lenz has been cheering with the team for five years, and her exclusion has sparked an online petition among fans that see the team as being in the wrong. As of this writing, the petition has over 11,000 signatures.
The cheerleader from Baltimore, Md., has her thoughts on why she was nixed from the Super Bowl trip to New Orleans. Lenz recently decided to retire from the team to pursue a career in marketing, and she thinks the franchise is punishing her for quitting.
I wouldn't even have reached out and let fans know if I didn't think it was clearly wrong. I'm just devastated by the whole situation. This was very unexpected… I didn't even think there would be a chance of me not going with being a five-year veteran...
They've been really hard on me this year since I told them I was leaving. I was the only three-plus year veteran that [is] not going. I immediately thought it was a mistake.
Before we continue, let's state that this is just one side of the story.
Team spokeswoman Heather Harness said the following in a statement to ABCNews.com (via Yahoo! News):
As set by the NFL, we are permitted to bring 32 cheerleaders to the Super Bowl. Our selection process was based upon three criteria: seniority, performance ability and personal conduct throughout the season. As much as we would like to take the whole team, we are unable to do so, due to parameters set by the NFL.
I doubt that the team is going to throw her under the bus right after driving away in one, but that is hardly an explanation from a team scorned.
If they did indeed leave Lenz behind because she is hanging up the pom-poms, it is a horrible decision that will surely anger the football gods or, at the very least, fans. Debbie Kammerer is the Ravens fan who created the online petition and offered the following:
We're just angry. She was 57th among the hottest NFL cheerleaders this season. People want to burn their jerseys and don't want to support the Ravens anymore. My heart isn't even wanting to go. I could save $3,500. This is totally wrong.
Aside from that, we would have to advise the Ravens to rethink their position. This is hardly the time you want to invite bad juju, while annoying fans that really just want a feel-good end to the season.
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