The Buffalo Bills won't have cheerleaders on the sideline or at charity or team events any time soon. On Thursday, the Buffalo Jills suspended operations at the same time as defending themselves from a lawsuit filed by five former members.
The Bills ceased managing the squad directly in 1986 and private companies have operated the group since. Stejon Productions, Corp. took over ownership of the group in 2011 and President Stephanie Mateczun said today they had "suspended operations through at least the end of the season."
Two days ago, five former Jills cheerleaders filed suit again the company, the Bills, and Citadel Communications for unfair workplace conditions including working hours for free, groping, and sexual comments. Cheerleaders throughout most of the NFL are paid as contractors and not subject to many of the same labor laws that apply to most workers. Similar lawsuits have been filed by cheerleaders for the Oakland Raiders and the Cincinnati Bengals.
"A decision to disband the Jills as an entity is a tremendous mistake for community spirit," said Frank Dolce, lawyer for the five former Jills. "We do not feel bad that Stejon Productions has ceased operations. We think that's a good thing. We just hope the Bills don't trivialize the Jills because of the poor management of them."
It remains to be seen if the Jills, who announced their 2014 squad just last week, will ever grace the field at Ralph Wilson Stadium again.