The Ravens will be doing whatever they can to win the Super Bowl on Sunday in New Orleans, but one person connected to the team will be missing out on the festivities. Baltimore barred cheerleader Courtney Lenz from the team's squad at the Super Bowl and the five-year veteran is calling foul.
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According to ABC.com, veteran team cheerleader Courtney Lenz will not be making the trip to New Orleans for the Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers. The 23-year-old cheerleader has been with the cheer squad for five years, but she did not receive an invitation to the Big Easy for the big game.
In response to the move, a number of fans started an online petition to get the Ravens to allow Lenz to cheer on the franchise at the Super Bowl.
"I wouldn't even have reached out and let fans know if I didn't think it was clearly wrong," Lenz 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."
Lenz said the news came out shortly after she announced her planned retirement at the Ravens' last home game against the Colts. According to ABC.com, Lenz began cheering for the Ravens when she was a freshman in college at 18. After she finished school and found a full time marketing job, she found it difficult to continue to fit cheering into her schedule and announced her retirement earlier this month.
Even though she decided to retire, Lenz feels that her veteran status should be enough to be on the field and accuses the Ravens of keeping her away as payback for quitting.
"They've been really hard on me this year since I told them I was leaving," Lenz said. She received an email last week with the names of the 32 cheerleaders who would join the team in New Orleans. "I was the only three-plus year veteran that [is] not going. I immediately thought it was a mistake."
In response, the Ravens said that they needed to choose only a select number of cheerleaders from the 60-member team since space is limited.
"As set by the NFL, we are permitted to bring 32 cheerleaders to the Super Bowl. Our selection process was based upon three criteria: seniority, performance ability and personal conduct throughout the season. As much as we would like to take the whole team, we are unable to do so, due to parameters set by the NFL," spokeswoman Heather Harness, said in a statement to ABCNews.com.
Fans of the team took the internet quickly, including Debbie Kammerer, 52, of Pasadena, Md., who created the online petition that has already has surpassed 1,200 signatures. According to ABC, Kammerer may not attend the game due to the move by the Ravens.
"We're just angry," Kammerer said. "She was 57th among the hottest NFL cheerleaders this season. People want to burn their jerseys and don't want to support the Ravens anymore. My heart isn't even wanting to go. I could save $3,500. This is totally wrong."
According to the petition online, "Lenz was ranked 57 among 100 hottest Cheerleaders this season & is a featured cheerleader in many print articles. Courtney is beautiful & this organization that is supposedly out there to promote self-esteem and healthy body image to millions of young girls and women nationwide has done a big injustice to Courtney & we are outraged! She deserves to be out on the field with her teammates, her family."
"Since this petition started she was informed tonight Jan 27th to turn in her uniform by the team Director Tina Galdieri. She is no longer on the team because of the out roar we have caused! She needs to be reinstated and allowed to perform with her teammates at Superbowl."
In addition to the petition, a Facebook page was created that has been liked more than 2,150 times.
"Originally I would have loved to go to the Super Bowl, but at this point it looks like it's not going to happen," she said. "I received an email on Sunday saying I need to turn in my uniform. I can't say I didn't expect it, but at the same time, they owe that to me."
The petition reads: "The fans of our beloved Baltimore Ravens' Cheerleader, Courtney L, petition the Director of the team & all others in the Front Office that were involved to allow Courtney to perform with her teammates at the Mercedes Benz Superdome for the Super Bowl XLVII game.
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!"
Petition Background (Preamble):
Baltimore Raven's 5 year veteran Cheerleader, Courtney L was given notice she would not be performing with her teammates at the SuperBowl XLVII. The director & front office explained they could only take 32 members of the squad and all 3+ year veterans would be going.
Courtney is a 5 year veteran and the only veteran on the team the coaching staff isn't taking. Courtney 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.
Courtney announced she was retiring during the last home game at the end of the season which didn't go well with the director. She was told she didn't put in as many appearance hours this season as she did the past 4 yrs while in college. This season she earned her B.S. degree and got a full time job... Bad call. They also stated she struggled with weight on occasion & she had been benched for 2 lb weight gain during a game earlier in the fall, which is a absurd, unhealthy and a complete inaccurate measurement of a woman's "appearance" and size!
Courtney is beautiful & this organization that is supposedly out there to promote self esteem and healthy body image to millions of young girls and women nationwide has done a big injustice to Courtney & we are outraged! She deserves to be out on the field with her teammates, her family.
Since this petition started she was informed tonight Jan 27th to turn in her uniform by the team Director Tina Galdieri. She is no longer on the team because of the out roar we have caused! She needs to be reinstated and allowed to perform with her teammates at Superbowl.