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NFL cheats the cheerleaders 

LowDown

Give me an "N"— Nnnnnn! Give me an "F" — Ffffff! Give me an "L" — Llllll! What does it spell? Greeeeeddd!

The National Football League is continuing to run an off-field power play against its valuable female team players. Women on NFL teams? Yes — not running plays, but on the sidelines running the synchronized gymnastics and precision dance routines of professional cheerleaders.

These women are an integral part of the spirit, entertainment, promotion and financial success of this $9 billion a year corporate enterprise — yet they're paid as little as $2.85 an hour, worked like mules, and are constantly abused and cheated.

Finally fed up, members of the Oakland Raiderettes cheerleading squad have sued their team's corporate hierarchy for gross labor violations. You'd think the billionaire owners of these sports kingdoms would be embarrassed to be publicly exposed as cheapskate exploiters of women. I mean, why wouldn't they just pay $10 an hour, or — what the hell — $100? That's pocket change to them.

Instead, the Oakland Raiders have rolled out their army of lawyers claiming that, thanks to a sneaky "mandatory arbitration" proviso in the ladies' employment contracts, the cheerleaders cannot go to court, but must submit any complaints to a private arbiter.

And who would that be? Why the NFL commissioner himself, whose $44-million-a-year salary is paid by the teams' owners!

Why would he side with poverty-pay cheerleaders against the regal owners who feather his own nest? He won't, which is why these indefatigable women are not only challenging the NFL's abuse of them, but also the abuse we all suffer from the absurd corporate-rigged system of forced arbitration.

To keep up with the cheerleaders' case and see how they are standing up for us, go to levyvinick.com/blog/news.

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.

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