Thousands of Ravens fans are outraged that the team is leaving behind a veteran cheerleader this week when it heads to New Orleans for this year’s Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers. Courtney Lenz, 23, of Baltimore, Md., is the only cheerleader with more than three years of experience with the Ravens who will not be making the trip. Lenz, who has been cheering for the Ravens since she was 18, says she’s been unfairly omitted from the trip because of her plans to retire after this season. A friend also noted that the team benched her for putting on two pounds.
‘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.’ One week ago, Lenz wrote on her Facebook page: ‘I’m still in shock!!! I can’t believe I’m headed to New Orleans in two weeks!!! Couldn’t be happier to be part of such an amazing team :) What an amazing way to end my cheerleading career!!! GO RAVENS ALL THE WAY BABY!!!!!’Fans have launched a petition and a Facebook page online to try and get the cheer squad to reverse its decision. The petition has gathered more than 1,300 signatures and the Facebook page has been ‘liked’ by nearly 2,200 users.
‘Courtney announced she was retiring during the last home game at the end of the season which didn’t go well with the director [of the cheerleading program],’ the petition says. ‘She was told she didn’t put in as many appearance hours this season as she did the past four years 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 and she had been benched for [a] two-pound weight gain during a game earlier in the fall, which is absurd, unhealthy and a complete inaccurate measurement of a woman’s “appearance” and size!’