Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Jumped, Then Muzzled. Familiar?

An unsuspecting, pretty young woman gets tackled from behind and dragged to the ground. She shakes it off and smiles brilliantly. So cool under pressure. Then she dares to post two adorable, self-deprecating tweets about the incident.

[Dallas Cowboys vs. Miami Dolphins, November 24, 2011. Cowboys cheerleader Melissa Kellerman tackled by TE Jason Witten.]

The next thing you know, she's been muzzled. It turns out, something weird can happen to you out of the blue, but if you dare to talk about it intelligently, certain people might threaten your job and force you into silence.

Why, Cowboys? You hired a capable, attractive young woman (Melissa Kellerman) who has been working for you for years now (four years is a long time in cheerleading) and knows how to write about her experiences (in 140 characters, no less) in a way that actually makes you look good. 

So you silence her. What for?

I saw this incident unfold in real time, which is unusual because I generally don't watch football (it bores the hell out of me, and I can't stand how long it takes and how it stops and starts incessantly, and how even the best plays are over in three seconds), but my father wanted to see the Cowboys-Dolphins game on Thanksgiving.

Three hours or so into this seemingly interminable game, Kellerman was on the sidelines, back to the field, just doing her cheerleader thing when TE Jason Witten careened out of bounds. For some reason, he grabbed her as he did so, pulling her to the ground and landing on top of her. 

Why this happened, I have no idea. Did Witten think he'd keep his balance if he took her with him? The whole thing was so strange, such a freak occurrence.

I felt bad for the cheerleader, but she seemed delighted, or at least acted that way, laughing it off on the jumbotron.

There must have been thousands of people (fans, followers, friends, reporters) asking her about the incident, so she tweeted sweetly:

The next thing you know, her Twitter account has gone bye-bye. 

This bothers me for a few important reasons
1. I do not care for the muzzling of people who dare to write about their own lives. 
2. I worry that this is another example of the Man paying a young woman a crappy salary for a high profile job, and then trying to control her in every way.  
3. It also seems to be a perpetuation of the sexist mandate that women should just stand there and look pretty, and not actually use their brains or think for themselves.

Kellerman apparently plans to become a teacher next...and it's just going to get worse, I fear. Who is more muzzled than a teacher?

I am also very tired of people getting in trouble for using social media. Contemporary culture is such that we live and experience things and then we write/post about them. We share them. We connect to other people in this manner (an important detail, considering that people are more cut off from each other than ever before, it seems).  I want to see more acceptance of the idea that people can reflect and share.

How long is it going to take before people stop attacking and threatening others for daring to discuss their own lives? Why should anyone get in trouble when they were just writing about what happened? It makes no sense to me.

In the meantime, I wish Melissa Kellerman good luck and quick healing. She appears to have won a big following of fans for the way she handled herself after the accidental tackle--and that is how it should be.

The Cowboys franchise, on the other hand, looks like a bunch of big, dumb oafs.


  1. What do the DC cheerleaders make? I think it's $50 a game. That's truly pathetic.

  2. That makes me feel positively overpaid in comparison!


  3. Collins is blowing up the interwebs! Awesome job writing about the muzzling of the cheerleader. Seriously, it's thought-provoking and valuable, esp in your three points. Thank you!

  4. It's sort of crazy how many reads I'm getting (ClustrMaps not tallying them, but I am seeing the stats). I guess this is the big news, or at least the least offensive news circulating...Thanks for reading / visiting, EC