AFC Links: Ayers, Bengals, Jets, Revis

Expectations were relatively high for Titans linebacker Akeem Ayers entering the season, but the former second-rounder has been a healthy scratch in three of the first four games. Instead of causing a disruption, the 25-year-old is quietly trying to reassert himself into the team’s defensive rotation. However, that doesn’t mean the entire situation is sitting well with him (via Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean)…

“Just because I am not walking around here ticked off and tearing everything up doesn’t mean I am comfortable with my situation,” Ayers said. “I am not comfortable with not playing. I want to play. I am a competitor, and I want to compete. So just because I am not carrying myself a certain way doesn’t mean I don’t care.

“But there is a way to handle everything, and I’m trying to handle things the right way.”

“Me being around here being a bad teammate and cursing coaches out, that is not going to help anybody and it is definitely not going to help me,” Ayers said. “I am always going to work on myself, whether they play me this year or not. I want to play football again. So I am going to help my teammates … and work on myself. Of course there is frustration there, but there is a certain way to handle situations.”

Let’s check out some more notes from the AFC…

  • Four former “Ben-Gals” cheerleaders are joining their peers’ lawsuit against the Bengals, claiming a “violation of federal wage laws,” writes Mark Gokavi of the Dayton Daily News.
  • Jets general manager John Idzik is hoping to become “the next” Ted Thompson (Packers general manager), writes’s Rich Cimini. This means building through the draft, investing in his own guys and occasionally signing outside free agents.
  • According to the NFLPA (via Twitter of’s Albert Breer), Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis has been named an alternate player representative.

NFL Cheerleaders May Attempt To Unionize

Amid allegations of wage violations and poor working conditions, the NFL’s cheerleading teams may be seeking to unionize. A former Buffalo Jill (the Bills cheerleading squad) spoke about the matter to Andrea Kremer for a future episode of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (via Mike Florio of

We’re looking into possibly developing some type of union for girls going forward,” the cheerleader, Maria, said. “So we’re not doing this to benefit ourselves. We’re, you know, done with cheering. This is for the future of the team, the future of these girls.”

Florio writes that the effectiveness of a union is debatable, but the threat could be enough to change how team’s treat their cheerleaders. Since February, at least five teams have seen lawsuits come their way:

  • A former Bengals cheerleader sued the team in February. The lawsuit claimed that the cheerleader received an average of $2.85 an hour (via USA Today Sport’s Sheila McLaughlin).
  • Five former Jills filed a lawsuit against the Bills in April. The suit alleges that the cheerleaders were payed below minimum wage for their “extensive work on game day and at various community events” (via USA Today Sports).
  • A former Buccaneers cheerleader filed a lawsuit against the team in May, claiming she received less than $2.00 an hour (via’s Josh Sanchez).
  • A former Jets cheerleader sued the team in May, saying she made about $1.50 an hour following out-of-pocket expenses (via Dareh Gregorian of the New York Daily News).
  • Two former Raiders cheerleaders sued the team earlier this month. They claimed that they were “subjected to poor working conditions” in addition to being paid below minimum wage (via This came a few months after the U.S. Labor Department announced that a previous wage investigation was closed. The findings said that the Raiders were “a ‘seasonal’ operation exempt from federal minimum-wage laws” (via’s Bob Egelko).

As Florio points out, teams have continually capitalized on the competitive nature of the job. For the opportunity to be a cheerleader, the team’s presume the performers would accept less than adequate pay.

“[D]oes it make it right?” a former Raiderette, Lacy, said to Kremer. “Tons of people would love to be a reporter. Does that mean you don’t deserve to be paid for your talent, for your time, for your hard work?”

The NFL has not spoken publicly on the matter.