The San Antonio Spurs announced it would replace their longtime Silver Dancers with a coed hype team that focuses on more "family friendly" entertainment, making them the only team in the NBA without a dance team.
The Spurs released a statement last week announcing that auditions will be held over the summer for stunt artists, tumblers, acrobats and cheerleaders as part of the new 35-member group.
It did not specify how that affected the current all-female cheerleading team, which has been a staple at Spurs home games since 1992.
According to Reuters, the news of the removal has been confirmed by Spurs Sports and Entertainment in a call to MySanAntonio.com. At the same time, several current and former members of the dance team also confirmed it on Twitter.
Team member Alexis Flores said “I am trying to still processing it right now. I’m just in total shock! Silver Dancers meant so much to all my teammates!”
ESPN San Antonio radio host Jason Mannix earlier tweeted that “the program was ending due to lack of fan interest & would be replaced with a larger co-ed team.”
However, fans showed their overwhelming love to the squad on Twitter and say they will miss the dancers, as @kaseadillaaa put it “so many girls dreams just got crushed by disbanding the silver dancers, that’s incredibly sad :(“
And @laurengarza236 commented “Since I can remember I've dreamed to be a Spurs silver dancer & I've danced my entire life to reach my dream and now when the right time has actually come to accomplish this dream, it can no longer be no more, I'm truly heartbroken to hear there will no longer be silver dancers.”
Hashtags like #savethesilverdancers and #bringbackthechaps have been used on social media, and a petition page has been created to gather support to keep the Silver Dancers.
The Spurs did not reveal their reasons but it comes amid scandals regarding other cheerleading squads, as former NFL cheerleaders have recently lodged complaints over sexual harassment, sexism and unfair pay practices.
The Spurs have not faced such criticism so far.
By Li Jing