Courtney Lenz (above the text "Today's Game") won't attend the Super Bowl.
(USA TODAY) -- A veteran Baltimore Ravens cheerleader says she wasn't included on the
squad's Super Bowl roster because of a slight weight gain.
Friends of the benched cheerer, Courtney Lenz, have started
an online petition to get her to New Orleans. It claims the Ravens have done
an "injustice." The decision to keep her in Baltimore was an insult to healthy
body image, the petition says.
It has more than 23,000 signatures and 5,000
Lenz, 23, has been on the Ravens sideline for five seasons. She has been
featured in team calendars and appeared at events on behalf of the team. Though
NFL rules dictate only 32 of the Ravens' 60 cheerleaders can attend Sunday's
game, Lenz figured she'd make the cut because of her seniority with the team.
All women with more than three years experience are on the Super Bowl
Why not Lenz? She thinks it's because she gained 1.4 pounds during the
season. She has told various news outlets that she added the weight to her usual
124-pound frame. The organization wanted her to get down to 120 pounds, she
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"They didn't specifically say that [it was because of the weight], but when
it comes down to it, that's the only disciplinary action I had during the
told NBC's Today. "I got benched because of my weight, and they said
that was the reason. Anybody that had disciplinary action taken during the
season was automatically disqualified. However, there are some girls on the team
that were also benched for their weight and are going."
Wait, so some women who had weight gain issues are going? Doesn't that sink
Lenz's contention that size was the factor in her benching?
Further clouding the issue is that Lenz retired at the end of the regular
season. She wanted to focus on pursuits outside cheerleading. The team had told
her she "didn't put as many appearance hours" in as she should have this
"Our selection process was based upon three criteria: seniority, performance
ability and personal conduct throughout the season,'' a
Ravens spokeswoman said in a statement. "As much as we would like to take
the whole team, we are unable to do so, due to parameters set by the NFL.''
Lenz has done interviews to draw attention to her story and seems to hope the
hot-button issue of body image will get her to New Orleans. The larger cause is
noble and important. Her sob story is less so.
"This season she earned her B.S. degree and got a full time job ... Bad call,"
the petition reads, in an unintentional celebration of misplaced priorities. She
made the decision to retire and isn't owed anything.
If the Ravens indeed benched her for weight, then Lenz's benching is worth a
second look. If there were other extenuating circumstances, which there appear
to be, then she should take a page from Alex Smith and accept her benching with
Chris Chase, USA TODAY Sports