Washington Redskins cheerleaders were required to pose topless for a calendar photo shoot in 2013 while spectators invited by the club looked on, the New York Times reported Wednesday.
Per the newspaper, the photo shoot was held at the adults-only Occidental Grand Papagayo resort in Culebra Bay, Costa Rica. The cheerleaders were told that the photographs used for the calendar would not show nudity.
The New York Times also reported that some of the cheerleaders were then required to attend a nightclub event as escorts for some of the team's male sponsors.
The cheerleaders said there was no sex involved in the incidents that occurred during a weeklong trip to Costa Rica. They also said they were not paid aside from the cost of the trip, meals and lodging.
"It's just not right to send cheerleaders out with strange men when some of the girls clearly don't want to go," one of the cheerleaders told the paper. "But unfortunately, I feel like it won't change until something terrible happens, like a girl is assaulted in some way, or raped. I think teams will start paying attention to this only when it's too late."
The newspaper also described an annual, mandatory boat trip with sponsors. Some of the women characterized the 2012 trip as "a wild gathering, where men shot liquor into the cheerleaders' mouths with turkey basters. Below the deck, men handed out cash prizes in twerking contests."
"The Redskins' cheerleader program is one of the NFL's premier teams in participation, professionalism and community service," the Redskins said in a statement to the newspaper. "Each Redskin cheerleader is contractually protected to ensure a safe and constructive environment. The work our cheerleaders do in our community, visiting our troops abroad and supporting our team on the field is something the Redskins organization and our fans take great pride in."
A spokesman for the NFL told the newspaper that the league office "has no role in how the clubs which have cheerleaders utilize them." The spokeman then added: "Our office will work with our clubs in sharing best practices and employment-related processes that will support club cheerleading squads within an appropriate and supportive workplace."