Malori Wampler

Last year, we made passing mention of Malori Wampler, the ex-Indianapolis Colts cheerleader who had been fired for posing in “risqué” photographs at a Playboy magazine-sponsored party — and by “risqué,” we mean clad only in body paint. For all intents and purposes, Wampler was basically naked. (And don’t worry, dear readers, we’ve got photos, if you’re interested in seeing that sort of thing.)

But rather than simply contesting the team’s decision to fire her (after all, these pictures had been taken before she became an NFL cheerleader, and the team was aware that Wampler had worked at these parties in the past), Wampler decided to sue, alleging that the Colts had terminated her because of her sex, race, and national origin. Wampler wasn’t fired because she had violated the team’s rule against cheerleaders appearing in nude photos; no, she was fired because she was Indonesian.

Earlier this week, Wampler’s case got some action in federal court. Let’s find out what happened….

According to the National Law Journal, Wampler’s case was thrown out by U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt. While NFL cheerleaders typically frolic and bounce around the field in booty shorts and bra tops, they’re not full-on nude. Here, although reasonable minds could differ as to the state of Wampler’s undress, we’re just going to call a spade a spade and say she was naked. If you can see nips, you’re naked, end of story.

So how did her racial discrimination claims come about? Wampler argued that a Caucasian cheerleader, Breanna Fonner, posed in a commercial on top of a bed wearing only lingerie while surrounded by men. Fonner was allowed to keep her job, even after having pictures of her snapped in a sexy-man sandwich. Alas, Judge Pratt didn’t buy Wampler’s attempt to whitewash the situation:

Wampler later argued that because she was covered in body paint, she wasn’t actually nude, and therefore hadn’t violated the Colts’ rules. Specifically, Wampler signed an agreement “not to commit any act that will or may create notoriety (including, but not limited to, posing nude or semi-nude in or for any media or publication whatsoever), bring cheerleader into public disrepute, or reflect adversely on club or its sponsors.”

Judge Pratt didn’t subscribe to Wampler’s loose concept of nudity, noting that the Colts had a legitimate interest in keeping the team’s cheerleaders from looking trashy — and Wampler’s race had nothing to do with that. She would have appeared to be oversexed, no matter her race. You can see Wampler’s Playboy party picture on the following page, and judge for yourselves. (Please note that it is NSFW, i.e., not safe for work.)

At the end of the day, Judge Pratt commented on what everyone must be thinking: why would a football team condemn a cheerleader for being sexy when that was a prerequisite for her being hired in the first place?

Again, you can be sexy, but you can’t be naked. It’s not that difficult of a concept to understand — but then again, we’re dealing with a cheerleader here, sooo… you know where we’re going with this.

We’ve embedded Judge Pratt’s opinion below. For an NSFW picture of Wampler in all of her glory, check out the next page….

Opinion: Wampler v. Indianapolis Colts


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