There's nothing the national—and sometimes international—media love more than a scandal involving a cheerleader. Even if an incident is not particularly scandalous, it can be elevated to that level simply by having a cheerleader involved.
It doesn't matter if it's a former cheerleader or a current cheerleader. And it doesn't matter if that cheerleader is in high school, college or at the professional level. They're all created equal in the prying eyes of the media.
That being said, some are certainly more interesting than others. Here are the most scandalous cheerleaders ever.
This was hardly a scandal of her own making. Former Ravens cheerleader Courtney Lenz was a five-year veteran of the squad when Baltimore made a surprise run to the Super Bowl in January 2013.
Naturally, Lenz assumed she'd be one of the 32 chosen out of the Ravens 60 total cheerleaders to represent them in New Orleans. But she was left out due to, what was apparently, a four pound weight gain.
Lenz's story attracted national attention and a petition supporting her received nearly 25,000 signatures in a matter of days. Although she did concede that her impeding retirement may have also played a part.
Unfortunately all the attention didn't help her cause. Lenz did not have the opportunity to cheer in the Super Bowl.
The so-called scandal that former Oregon cheerleader Amanda Pflugrad dealt with back in 2008 wasn't really all that scandalous, it's just that she's really every pretty and people enjoyed writing about her because it gave them more opportunity to ogle her.
Once they hit the web, pictures of her partying with her friends on a booze cruise became an instant viral sensation and have been floating around ever since. They surfaced not long after Pflugrad appeared in a very popular Sports Illustrated feature that put her on the map.
For as many headaches as the incident has likely caused Pflugrad over the years, it certainly hasn't hurt her professionally. She has been working for Fox Sports Arizona for the last several years and it's hard to imagine she won't make the jump to something national at some point soon.
In November 2010 SportsByBrooks reported that Mississippi State cheerleader Taylor Corley had posed nude for Playboy. Initially it was unclear whether or not she'd be able to stay on the team because she hadn't broken any specific rule within the school's code of conduct.
Three months later Corley appeared on an Memphis radio show to confirm that she was no longer a part of the team.
Corley described it as a less-than-mutual decision, saying, "Me and my coaches decided that it was either Mississippi State cheerleading or my Playboy career. Pretty much the decision was made for me that I was no longer going to be cheering for them."
In 2009 former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Whitney Isleib sparked a mini-scandal after pictures of her Halloween were posted on social media and immediately went viral on Deadspin. And then went viral everywhere else on the web.
The issue being that Isleib dressed as rapper Lil Wayne, complete—not with just blackface—but with every visible part of her body being colored to match.
The DCC directors are very image conscious about their brand and were less than thrilled with the controversy. Isleib had garnered enough goodwill previously to keep her job; her last season was 2012.
In September 2013 University of Minnesota freshman cheerleader Ali Van Kirk was spotted on surveillance video by campus security and appeared intoxicated.
They went to investigate and found her in possession of marijuana, as well as various prescription pills, none of which she actually had a prescription for. During the search security also discovered an electronic scale in her backpack.
In May 2011 former Colts cheerleader Malori Wampler was dismissed from the team after the organization was made aware of some provocative photos in her past, which were sent in by (an absolute narc of) a fan.
The Playboy photos depicted Wampler sans-top, wearing a body paint bikini. Neither she, nor her lawyers, felt the pictures violated the policy which prohibits the girls from "committing any act that will or may create notoriety."
Wampler decided to sue the organization for bias. The case made its way through the Indiana court system before finally being dismissed in August 2012. At least she fought the good fight. Well…she fought a fight.
In 2005 Courtney Simpson is a former Arizona State cheerleader who attracted a lot of attention when she decided to pursue a porn career and appeared wearing her uniform in at least one movie.
The university was displeased.
Simpson had been a devout mormon growing up and has said she intended to remain a virgin until marriage, before being derailed one month into her freshman year at ASU.
A year into her porn career she announced she would no longer be performing with men on screen and a year later she gave up having sex with women on screen too.
Simpson retired in 2007, having appeared in over 250 films in approximately 18 months. Talk about a go-getter.
Former Buccaneers cheerleader Mary Delgado appeared on both Season 4 and Season 6 of the ABC reality train wreck The Bachelor. After getting the boot the first time, she returned in 2004 and found love with pro fisherman Byron Velvick.
Unlike most of the show's couples, Delgado and Velvick actually managed to make it work for over five years. Which is particularly surprising, given that she was arrested for DWI twice during that time and once for domestic battery after slugging him in the face.
The couple eventually broke up in 2009 and Delgado has only been arrested once since then. Huzzah!
In October 2013 19-year-old Kaitlyn Hunt was sent to a Florida jail to begin serving a three-month sentence stemming from charges that she engaged in a relationship with a 14-year-old girl (Hunt was 18 at the time) which eventually turned sexual.
Hunt has maintained that she believed the relationship to be healthy and legal, despite the fact that their age difference made a sexual relationship illegal. Although she has said recently she does regret trusting her ex and the relationship in general.
The case has attracted international attention from many who believe Hunt was targeted primarily because of her sexual orientation. While that may very well be the case, heterosexual people in similar cases are charged all the time.
Claiming ignorance of the law does not invalidate the law.
In 2008 former Patriots cheerleader Caitlin Davis was dismissed from the team after posting some seriously ill-advised photos on Facebook. In the photos she was seen posing with a marker over a passed-out friend who was covered in graffiti.
Among the scrawling was the word "penis," the phrase "I'm a Jew," and a pair of swastikas. Who knows what Davis is up to these days, but hopefully she learned several lessons from that ugly ordeal.
In September 2008 Hunter Johnson, a 16-year-old cheerleader at Wake Christian Academy, was arrested for selling prescription drugs out of her BMW. She had been busted by a confidential informant who had witnessed the drug operation in a parking lot for over a month.
Johnson faced three felony drug charges for distributing Oxycodone, which came with a maximum sentence of six years in prison. Nothing else was reported (that I could find) after the initial arrest, but given that Johnson was a minor at the time, she probably pled out and easily avoided jail time.
It almost always pays to be young and blonde if you're arrested for anything.
In July 2009 17-year-old Chelsea Steele was among four girls arrested for stealing $147 from a group of children—one of which was in a wheelchair—who were at a pool party in Marietta, Georgia.
The kids were selling various things to help the struggling business of one of their parents. The teens stole the money and took off in a Ford Taurus. Of course it was a Taurus.
In addition to felony robbery charges, Steele was also slapped with a misdemeanor for underage possession of alcohol.
Already subjected to intense publicly scrutiny, Steele was further shamed when the children she and her friends victimized appeared on NBC's Today to discuss the ordeal.
In September 2010 former SuperSonics dancer Pilita Corrales was arrested and charged with embezzlement. She was accused of pilfering over a quarter million dollars from the construction supply company employing her.
Corrales didn't have much of a plan for the money, having mostly pissed it away at salons, upscale department stores and luxury hotels. She was living large while the company was losing money, forcing them to layoff several workers.
I'm not sure how this all worked out for Corrales, who is now 25, but something tells me this legal ordeal is already behind her. She's probably already married, and potentially nearing divorce, from the first in what will likely be a long line of husbands.
In August 2013 Arizona Cardinals cheerleader Megan Welter made international headlines when she was arrested for assault in her Scottsdale dale home, accused of beating up her boyfriend. The couple had been drinking heavily in the hours leading up to the event, which was said to be sparked by texts from an ex-girlfriend.
The fight escalated and it was Welter who actually made the call to 911, accusing the boyfriend of attacking her. But it turned out he had used his cellphone to record the incident—smart fellow. Police found no sign of injury to Welter and hauled her ass in instead.
The case attracted so much attention because Welter is particularly high profile because of her past military service. She actually spent 16 months leading a platoon in Iraq as a member of the U.S. Army. Welter is no longer active duty, but remains a reservist.
She also remains a Cardinals cheerleader. Welter is still pictured on the team's current roster.
The Fab Five were a notoriously nasty group of mean girl cheerleaders who became a media sensation in 2005 when details of their antics became public. It's started as an investigation into the racy (and entertaining) photos the girls had been posting of themselves in uniform on MySpace.
The fact that it was MySpace is an unfortunate reminder of the porn-clogged cyber ghetto that site became. It also became infected with sexual predators looking to prey on over-sexed teenagers with poor decision-making abilities.
An attorney looking into the situation found that the girls had been terrorizing everyone they'd come into contact with for years, their discipline problems and sense of entitlement mounting with each passing school year.
The girls had gone through five cheerleading coaches in three years and one teacher said that gang members were easier to deal with. The attorney described their reign as tyrannical, but also pointed the finger at every adult who enabled them by doing nothing.
There's only one thing you can do with a group of girls that vile. Make a movie about them. Yeah...that happened.
In May 2011 former Falcons cheerleader Kori Lanard was among four suspects arrested in Georgia for various felony charges stemming from "running a multi-jurisdictional stolen vehicle and heavy equipment chop shop ring."
Lanard and her sister were the first of the suspects arrested when they were found with stolen property. It wasn't long before police were able connect them with the others who were eventually charged and tie the case together.
I wasn't able to find an update for how the situation shook out for Kori and Co., but something tells me she probably didn't go on to be a highly contributing member of society.
In March 2012 former Bengals cheerleader Sarah Jones was indicted for first-degree sexual abuse and unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual or other prohibited acts—that was a mouthful, I know.
Both felony charges stemmed from an affair that Jones, a 27-year-old married high school English teacher, had been having with a teenager at her school. Both parties initially denied the affair, but facing five years on each count, eventually decided to play ball with authorities.
Jones pleaded guilty and was able to avoid jail time. Although national controversy wasn't nearly enough to derail this train wreck of a relationship. Not long after the case was settled Jones announced the pair were engaged and were still planning a wedding as of June 2013.
This incident wasn't actually the first time Jones had made headlines. Three years prior she filed a defamation lawsuit against Nik Richie, owner of TheDirty.com, who had posted various photos of her, allowing users to comment about her sexual activities and allege she had STDs.
In July 2013 Jones was awarded $338,000 in damages by a jury in federal court. The jury returned a unanimous verdict in a case that is expected to set a precedent for similar legal action in the future.
In June 2013 Monita Marie Parker, an 18-year-old cheerleader living outside of Minneapolis, was arrested and accused of pimping out a younger high school classmate after posting an online ad for her services.
Parker reportedly asked $60 for one encounter in which she transported the minor to an apartment and took the money from her after it was completed. There was at least one other incident reported.
It was only uncovered after the victim's mother found text messages referencing what happened that exchanged by her daughter and Parker. In October Parker was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to three prostitution-related charges.
She'll serve no less than two the three years and will be required to register as a sex offender upon her release.
In March 2013 former Titans cheerleader Elizabeth Leigh Garner was arrested in Tennessee for attempting to molest a 12-year-old boy in his own home.
The 42-year-old Garner was drinking at the residence when she decided it would be an excellent idea to follow him into the bathroom and quiz him about his sexual experiences.
At that point she told him that she wanted to perform a sex act on him and attempted to disrobe the boy. The victim bolted and told his mother, at which point she called the authorities and Garner was taken into custody.
She was charged with aggravated sexual battery and solicitation of a minor for rape of a child. YIKES.
In November 2006 former Carolina Panthers cheerleaders Angela Ellen Keathley and Renee Thomas were arrested at a Banana Joe's in Tampa just after 2 a.m. Police responded to a complaint about the two, who witnesses reported were having sex with each other in a bathroom stall.
Their extracurricular bathroom activities came to the attention of those outside the ladies room after they started a fight with other bar patrons who became annoyed while waiting to use the facilities. At least one of the witnesses was struck in the face.
Police reports indicate Keathley was so drunk while being escorted from the premises that she could hardly stand up of her own accord. She was also, apparently, "rude and belligerent." She was charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing/opposing an officer.
Thomas wasn't in much better shape, she was charged with battery and faced additional charges for lying to police about her identity. At least she was able to provide contact information for someone who would eventually confirm her identity.
If they hoped to keep it a secret from the team, calling up the girls to bail them out probably wasn't the best idea. Both Keathley and Thomas were dismissed within days of the indecent.
Some of those were pretty harsh towards the end, so I didn't want to leave things on a negative note. Here's something a little more wholesome to close this out.
*Speaking of Twitter, which we weren't, you should follow me there: Follow @blamberr