It appears that the Dallas Cowboys don't want their famous cheerleaders generating their own attention. And doing so can get them kicked off Twitter.
Note: Please see below for updates, including a response from the Cowboys.
On Thursday, during the team's Thanksgiving Day game against the Miami Dolphins, cheerleader Melissa Kellerman was accidentally tackled at the end of a play by Cowboys tight end Jason Witten. Afterward, Kellerman tweeted light-heartedly about it. Now, according to CNBC reporter Darren Rovell, the team has forced Kellerman to delete her Twitter account.
After the tackle--which was caught live on camera (see video below) from a number of different angles--Kellerman quickly got up. Later, she posted two tweets about it. One said: "Not hurtin' today, like some of y'all thought I would be! Our [tight end] isn't as tough as he looks...That or I'm WAY tougher than I look. ;)"
Nothing controversial there, except maybe Kellerman's tongue-in-cheek implication that Witten wasn't tough enough to knock her out of the game, despite his pads and helmet and her skin-tight cheerleading outfit.
But that seems to have been enough to convince the Cowboys to force Kellerman off of Twitter. On Sunday, her @MelissaRae account was inactive.
If true--and even the NFL's own blog thinks it is--it doesn't make a lot of sense. Kellerman's tweets were utterly unassuming, didn't blame anyone, use profanity, or even make too much fun of Witten. But the team doesn't seem to want the cheerleaders driving their own messages. Rather, it appears to want their words confined to the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders official Web site, where plenty of musings by Kellerman and her fellow pompom shakers are available. Or maybe through the cheerleaders' official Twitter feed where, it should be noted, there's no mention of Kellerman's Twitter banning.
This is bad form, it seems to me. If Kellerman had bad-mouthed the team, the NFL, Witten, or anyone else, it would make sense. But she didn't, and she looked spunky, and good-spirited in the process. By comparison, the Cowboys look tone-deaf and vindictive--and for no reason. It's worth paying attention to this one to see if the team reverses course. In the meantime, let's see if Kellerman starts wearing shoulder pads to the office.
Update on November 28 at 12:11 p.m. PST: Now we have an official response from the Cowboys--and they say they didn't do it. Following a request for comment from CNET, the team's director of public relations, Rich Dalrymple, wrote in an email, "The organization doesn't get [into] administering the Twitter accounts of players or cheerleaders. Melissa made her own decisions regarding her account over the weekend."