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Alive TV News
Atlanta, Georgia, Wednesday, August 25,
Coach fired after Jewish Complaints
Reported By: Jaye Watson
Web Editor: Manav Tanneeru
UNIVERSITY of Georgia's fired
cheerleading coach on Wednesday vowed to fight to
get back the job she held for 12 years.
In an interview with 11Alive News, Marilou
Braswell (above) answered the
accusations leveled by Jaclyn Steele, a Jewish
cheerleader who claimed discrimination kept her off
the football cheer squad. Braswell said religion
was not a factor in how she treated Steele.
A big part of Braswell's life is that she is a
Christian, her husband is a pastor. But, she says,
she never pushed her faith on her cheerleaders.
"I would never discriminate against any of them.
If I'm a true Christian, then that's what I'm
called to do so is to love everybody, I love every
one of my cheerleaders," she said.
UGA legal affairs, the Anti-Defamation
League, and Steele, the cheerleader,
SO there were "subtle pressures"
applied by Marilou in a religious sense.
And the Anti-Defamation
League wades in, both fists flying,
and applies rather less subtle pressures
to get this long term cheerleader coach
I know nothing about
cheerleading, tho' I admit to a tiny
curiosity as to what the cheerleader with
the surprisingly unJewish name of
Jaclyn Steele might look like.
Perhaps Penthouse will now step
forward with an offer.
It is like a nasty game
of cards. Cheerleader? Great. Beats my
queen any time. Jewish cheerleader? Can't
jump higher. Holocaust-
Royal Flush? Wait, Ah'll
see you on that, ah've got a Holocaust
surviving Jewish lesbian one-legged
cheerleader in my hand.
Uh, no, that one won't
I don't know much about cheerleading,
except in the sense of the art
connoisseurs who Knows What He Likes. I
venture to suspect however that Ms Steele
will not find herself a very popular
member of the team from now on, in an
activity which depends so much on
Years later, they cry
out, "Why us?" And Abraham Foxman
(below) and his nasty gang of smearleaders
at the ADL, who generate so much
anti-Semitism by their antics, will be
nowhere to be seen.
Alicia Barry, one of Marilou
Braswell's cheerleaders who won her place
by good looks and sheer ability
. . . not pressure from the
Anti-Defamation League -
Last year, Steele filed a complaint with
university officials that Braswell discriminated
against her religiously, that she was encouraged to
participate in pre-game prayers, and was encouraged
to go to Braswell's house for Bible study.
"If they don't want to participate for some
reason, then they don't have to," Braswell
In an interview with 11Alive News,
Steele's stepfather, David Bernath, said
there were subtle pressures for cheerleaders to
show up for Bible study.
Braswell denied there was any pressure. "If they
wanted to come, they were allowed to come," she
The Anti-Defamation League helped Steele with
her complaint to the university. ADL officials said
that the atmosphere was such that if you weren't
Christian, and if you did not want to study in
Bible study or in prayers, you weren't treated as
well as the other girls.
The most coveted cheerleading spot is football.
Steele cheered football the first year, but the
second year she was put on the men's basketball
team, and the third year, she was put down to the
women's basketball team.
Braswell said the reason Steele (above)
was not placed on the football cheering squad was
that "there were six girls better than her. That's
it. Bottom line. It's so close, so competitive and
she just did not make top six."
UGA officials placed Steele on the football
squad without a tryout, which is mandated each
year, following the allegations.
Already on probation, Braswell read a statement
to the cheerleading squad about why Steele was
placed on the football squad. Afterwards,
university officials fired her for what they call
"discourteous and disruptive" behavior.
Bernath said the allegations had nothing to with
making the football cheering squad, adding that
Steele didn't even want to cheer this year, but is
because of all that has happened.
Braswell is appealing her firing and will be
meeting with athletic director Damon Evans sometime
Smearleader, not cheerleader. Deborah
Lauter, of the Atlanta, Georgia, ADL
Our website dossier on Anti-Defamation
League of the B'nai Brith
of of the University of Georgia Bulldogs and
Marilou - the Breswell's side of the story: The
story of Jacyln Steele and the ADL
August 27, 2004
applauds firing of UGA coach Marilou Braswell
ATHENS, Georgia (USA) -
Jaclyn Steele, the
University of Georgia cheerleader who filed a
religious discrimination complaint against her
coach, made her first comments Thursday about the
firing of Marilou
right, with regular cheerleader Alicia
"I took this issue on because I love the
University of Georgia and wanted to help restore
integrity to its cheerleading program," Steele, who
is Jewish, said in a statement released by the
coach Marilou Braswell had been warned not to push
her religious beliefs.
"I appreciate that the university administration
took my complaint seriously, investigated the
situation fully, and took appropriate action. I
look forward to continuing to cheer for UGA and to
working with my teammates to be a first-rate
Braswell, who wants her job back, delivered her
letter of appeal Thursday to Georgia athletics
director Damon Evans. She left "in about 60
seconds," said her husband, Matt
"It was a very, very brief meeting," Evans said.
"I thanked her for coming. I told her I would
review the appeal and get back to her within the
next five days."
If Evans does not overturn the termination,
Braswell's appeal will be forwarded to the
university for formal grievance proceedings.
Steele's claims that Braswell's Christian
teachings pervaded the cheerleading program, UGA
granted the senior from Marietta a fourth year
of cheerleading eligibility and "recommended"
that she be placed on the football squad
participating in tryouts.
Athletics department policy limits cheerleading
participation to three years.
UGA placed Braswell, who held weekly Bible
studies in her home, on 12 months' probation in
November. Braswell was warned in writing by Evans
to have "no more religious overtones in your
program" and to be careful not to violate UGA
policy by retaliating in any way against her
Braswell allegedly violated that probation when
she read a prepared statement to the squad on Aug.
7 explaining why Steele was on the team despite not
Micah Redden, 27, is a former UGA
cheerleader who claims to be agnostic. He said he
was on the 2001 squad with Steele and agrees with
her about Braswell showing favoritism toward
"I've seen it; it's been going on for years,"
said Redden, who is from Snellville. "She crossed
the line, she needed to go and she needed to go on
a cheerleading basis anyway. The interview process
of the tryout had a slant toward Christianity. That
was always a strong undertone, if you
December 22, 2004 Federal
Judge rejects request to restore job to
University of Georgia cheerleading coach Marilou