The Superbowl is usually a joyous occasion for each team as well as the affiliates involved. Well, that good feeling was snatched away from Courtney Lenz, a five-year veteran of the cheer squad, when she was purposely excluded from the list of girls that will be attending this Sunday's game.
As a result, fans have created an online petition to get Lenz back in the game. So far the petition has collected more than 10,000 signatures and over 2,100 Facebook likes.
"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."
The decision not to include Lenz isn't completely random, however. The news came shortly after Lenz announced that she will be retiring from the team after this season to focus her attention on her full time marketing job. Even though she retired at the end of the regular season, Lenz still believe she has put in enough time over the last five years to entitle her a spot at the big game. "They've been really hard on me this year since I told them I was leaving," Lenz said. After receiving an email list of 32 cheerleaders that would be attending, when Courtney did not see her name she was devastated. "I was the only three-plus year veteran that [is] not going. I immediately thought it was a mistake."
The Ravens have made their side of things very clear, stating that cuts had to be made and Lenz wasn't the only cheerleader not attending.
"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.
Even with all the support from fans and friends, it looks like it might not be enough. Courtney was asked (via email) to turn in her uniform. "I can't say I didn't expect it, but at the same time, they owe that to me."