Baltimore Ravens cheerleader Courtney Lenz is being barred from attending the Super Bowl despite five years on the squad, spurring an online campaign to get the veteran pom-pom shaker to New Orleans.
Lenz, 23, of Baltimore, has a Facebook page and online petition in her corner after she was told she would not be one of 32 Ravens cheerleaders chosen to represent the team Sunday for Super Bowl XLVII. The five-year veteran started cheerleading for Baltimore when she was 18 years old.
The Facebook page “Help us get Courtney to Superbowl [sic]” has more than 3,000 likes on the social media website. A petition, titled “Request Baltimore Ravens Cheerleader, Courtney L to be Reinstated & Attend Superbowl [sic] with her team!” surpassed 12,000 signatures since it was posted to gopetition.com on Friday.
The Ravens cheerleader allegedly ruffled the team’s feathers when she announced her retirement at the end of Baltimore’s regular season, according to the petition.
"They've been really hard on me this year since I told them I was leaving," Lenz told ABCNews.com. "I was the only three-plus year veteran that [is] not going. I immediately thought it was a mistake."
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The preamble to the online petition begins with, “Baltimore Raven's [sic] 5 year veteran Cheerleader, Courtney L was given notice she would not be performing with her teammates at the SuperBowl XLVII,” the petition states. “The director & front office explained they could only take 32 members of the squad and all 3+ year veterans would be going.”
Yet Lenz wasn’t chosen as one of the Super Bowl cheerleaders.
"I wouldn't even have reached out and let fans know if I didn't think it was clearly wrong," she told ABCNews.com. "I'm just devastated by the whole situation. This was very unexpected… I didn't even think there would be a chance of me not going with being a five-year veteran."
The online campaign noted Lenz “was featured in every calendar & chosen to attend many charity venues over the years and she has done every ambassadorial job with pride and class.
“She was ranked 57 among 100 hottest Cheerleaders this season & is a featured cheerleader in many print articles,” the petition goes on to say.
The petition said the Ravens were unfair to Lenz, benching her during a game earlier this year because she gained two pounds. The team also reportedly admonished her because she couldn’t make as many appearances this year as usual. The petition said Lenz had just finished college and started working at a full-time job this season.
The more than 12,000 signers of the petition are demanding the Ravens send Lenz to the Super Bowl.
“Courtney is beautiful & this organization that is supposedly out there to promote self esteem [sic] and healthy body image to millions of young girls and women nationwide has done a big injustice to Courtney & we are outraged!” the petition states. “She deserves to be out on the field with her teammates, her family.
“She deserves to retire at the last game of the football season with her teammates for all the hard work, dedication, long hours and commitment she portrayed with utmost class & style over the past 5 years for your organization!”