The NFL is open to looking at ways to improve working conditions for hundreds of cheerleaders.
Two former cheerleaders filed a gender-discrimination complaint and had given the league a Friday deadline to settle for $1 each. Sara Blackwell, the attorney for the cheerleaders who filed claims against the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins wanted NFL lawyers to engage in a "good faith" meeting with at least four cheerleaders with the idea of creating binding rules and regulations for all teams.
Blackwell also wanted to protect current cheerleaders from retaliation and sought assurances that teams currently with cheerleading squads would not be allowed to disband them for at least five years.
While the league did not accept the proposal, the New York Times reported the NFL did send a letter to Blackwell, which she said was a step forward.
Blackwell did not tell the newspaper what was in the letter, but she did say, "I'm grateful for this letter, and I do believe that this is a good-faith effort by the NFL. There could be good things that come from it."
The league confirmed to the Times a letter was sent, but like Blackwell, did not divulge the contents.
"As we said before, our office is working with the clubs in sharing best practices and employment-related processes that will support club cheerleading squads within an appropriate and supportive workplace," league spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email. "The letter expressed that a conversation would be welcome regarding information or recommendations related to the teams' policies."
Blackwell filed a complaint on Bailey Davis' behalf in March after she was fired by the Saints for posting a "selfie" on Instagram. The team said Davis violated team rules; Davis said rules for cheerleaders were not the same for players.
Kristan Ware filed a complaint after she was fired by the Dolphins for what she said was expressing her Christian beliefs.
Dozens of cheerleaders have come forward and complained about rules that apply to them and not players, including fraternization rules.
Last week, the Times reported Washington Redskins cheerleaders were required to pose topless for a calendar photo shoot in 2013 while spectators invited by the club looked on.
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 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.