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Ravens Cheerleader Barred From Super Bowl Because of Weight Gain?

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By Andrew Lu on January 31, 2013 11:01 AM

A Baltimore Ravens cheerleader claims she's being benched from performing at the Super Bowl because she's too fat. Outraged supporters are weighing in online.

Courtney Lenz, a five-year veteran of the Ravens' cheerleading squad, says that she was not asked to join the team for the Super Bowl. She insists it's because she gained a little weight during the season.

The Ravens were in a position where they had to choose only 32 of their 60 cheerleaders to join them at the Super Bowl. Lenz, 23, claims to be the only veteran of three or more years who wasn't chosen to cheer at the big game, reports The Baltimore Sun.

So how much weight was at issue? Lenz says Ravens cheerleaders are weighed every week during the season, and that she packed on less than 2 pounds.

Lenz now tips the scales at 125.4 pounds, after weighing just 124 pounds for most of the season. She said that the team wanted her to get down to 120 pounds.

The Ravens insist that their selection criteria included three things: seniority, performance ability, and personal conduct throughout the season, reports the Sun.

While the Ravens cheerleader went public with her claims, it was not reported if she is seeking any legal action. Given her position and the alleged reason for her exclusion, it's not clear if she would even have a valid lawsuit.

In general, appearance and weight are not protected characteristics for employment discrimination. So employers can generally terminate employees for being overweight or being ugly if they so choose. It's just that basing employment decisions on these reasons can sometimes cross the line into illegal discrimination based on sex, race, age, or other protected traits.

Of course Lenz wasn't fired, she was just left off the Ravens' Super Bowl cheerleader roster. If the reason for her exclusion is as she claims, it's certainly unfortunate. It's just not clear what Lenz can do, legally speaking, besides publicly gripe.

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