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Former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Erica Wilkins is suing the team for low pay. Wilkins, who cheered for Dallas from May 2014 through August 2017, filed a lawsuit in the North District of Texas U.S. District Court Tuesday.
Wilkins says the team paid her $8 an hour—far less than the Cowboys compensated their mascot, "Rowdy," who received $25 per hour.
"Rowdy is in a costume—you have no look requirements, no height requirements, and no weight requirements," Wilkins said, according to WFAA-TV (Dallas).
Wilkins says the cheerleaders are held to far different standards.
"They're profiting off our images and our bodies that we work so hard to keep in shape," Wilkins said. "We put in so much work and not to be compensated fairly is really an injustice."
She added that the cheerleaders aren't provided a trainer or nutritionist.
Wilkins, who said she already knew she wanted to join the squad when she was 16, adds that she never made more than $16,516.01. Her legal argument is that Dallas violated the Equal Pay and Fair Labor Standards Act. She also wasn't paid appropriate overtime wages, according to the filing.
She says she's suing to help both current and future cheerleaders.
"I want to make a difference for not just past or current members, but for future ones," Wilkins said. "No one ever wants to speak out because they're just so afraid of losing their spot."