Time to get rid of cheerleaders?

Last updated 05:00 19/06/2013

Calgary Stampeders' cheerleaders dance during a break in action during the first half of their CFL football game against the Edmonton Eskimos.

NOT NEEDED? Cheerleaders entertain during an NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Canterbury Bulldogs.
The Maidens - keeping warm
Iain McGregor Zoom
CHILLY NIGHT: The Maidens keeping wrapped up before performing.

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As I watched the Warriors shock the Roosters on Sunday, one thing stood out which made me think - and it wasn't about how the Warriors could go from a team thrashed 62-6 in one game to one that has won its last four games in a row.

OPINION: It was about the cheerleaders that welcomed both Warriors and Roosters players onto the field and who kept parading themselves during the game, apparently satisfying the men in the crowd.

They may be hot, but do we really need to see this at the footie?

I'll admit that when I was a bit younger I might have quite enjoyed the sight of cheerleaders dancing in tight and revealing outfits, waving their long hair around.

But now it seems that cheerleaders are a bit of an anomaly, especially when more women are going to universities and colleges, appointed CEOs and leaders of government than ever before. 

Indeed, the idea of cheerleaders seems to contradict the trend of today, that women can do the same things men can do and can often do it better. Old preconceptions of women are now considered sexist.

In fact, let's go back a few months ago in 2013 to the podium ceremony at the Tour de Flanders. As part of a practical joke, cyclist Peter Sagan pretends to pinch the bum of the podium girl kissing Fabian Cancellara. His act is caught on camera, and Sagan is instantly criticised and rebuked for being highly unprofessional and sexist.

The Slovak star quickly apologised to defuse attention from his naughty act but this act only shed more light on what is still quite a male-dominated sport; even though there are plenty of women cyclists of high calibre like Marianne Vos, Laura Trott, etc, there is no sign of a Grand Tour for the women, and women still cannot compete in the Tour de France and two big races of the year.

Female athletes like Laura Trott are trying to shed the sex symbol image associated with their gender.

I think it's time we binned cheerleaders and start to acknowledge that there are women who follow the same sports men love and show the respect that they deserve - or allow men to be involved in cheerleading squads which American colleges now encourage.

Many high-profile sports and teams have scrapped cheerleaders. The Premier League used cheerleaders in its first season but they have been long forgotten - most fans care about the game rather than the girls. The Green Bay Packers do not have a cheerleading squad, as they consider themselves to be a family-based franchise and feel that cheerleaders are not appropriate for the younger fans.

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After all, do we go to the footie to watch a couple of guys chase a ball or a couple of girls jump up and down with their pom-poms?

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