NEW YORK — A former NFL cheerleader for the Houston Texans accused the team on Friday of abusing her by forcing her to wear duct-tape on the sides of her waist to make her look thinner in a case of what she called "body shaming."
Angelina Rosa made the claim while joining a lawsuit filed earlier this month by five other former Texans cheerleaders. The suit alleges they were underpaid and subjected to a hostile work environment.
Appearing at a news conference outside NFL headquarters in Manhattan with prominent women's rights attorney Gloria Allred, Rosa told reporters that she was constantly berated last season and threatened with dismissal for not being skinny enough. She described being cornered at game time and duct-taped by the cheerleading coach and others right before she was to go out on the field and dance.
"I heard, 'This will hurt a bit' as my skin was being pulled, stretched and taped," she said. After going through with the performance, she said, "I felt humiliated and ashamed of my own body."
The teams pick the cheerleaders from the many women who try out, "only to body-shame them, bully them and dictate what other jobs they can have, all while paying them $7.25 per hour," she added.
There was no immediate comment from the NFL.
A statement posted on the Texans Twitter site after the lawsuit was initially filed said the team was looking forward to fighting the allegations and that it does not "tolerate mistreatment of our cheer team or our employees at any time."
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.