There's one Baltimore Ravens team member who won't be making the trip to New Orleans for Sunday's Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers.
Ravens cheerleader Courtney Lenz, 23, is a five-year veteran of the cheer squad, but did not receive an invitation from the team to attend the biggest game of her career after announcing her plans to retire at the end of this season, according to ABCNews.com
Lenz, who lives in Baltimore, began cheering for the Ravens when she was a freshman in college at 18. After she finished school and found a full-time marketing job, she found it difficult to continue to cheer on the side and announced she was going to retire at the end of the season.
Still, she believes her time put in over the years entitles her to a spot on the Super Bowl sidelines.
"They've been really hard on me this year since I told them I was leaving," Lenz told ABCNews.com. "I was the only three-plus year veteran that [is] not going. I immediately thought it was a mistake."
The Ravens coordinators claim they had to choose a limited number of cheerleaders from the 60-woman squad to attend the Super Bowl, and Lenz didn’t make the cut.
"As set by the NFL, we are permitted to bring 32 cheerleaders to the Super Bowl," Ravens spokeswoman Heather Harness said Wednesday in a statement to ABCNews.com. "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."
Some fans were outraged, and have taken to the Internet to speak out against the barring.
Debbie Kammerer, 52, of Pasadena, Md., created an online petition that has already has gotten more than 1,200 signatures. She is so angry, she says she is considering not attending the game herself.
"We're just angry," Kammerer told ABCNews.com. "She was 57th among the hottest NFL cheerleaders this season. People want to burn their jerseys and don't want to support the Ravens anymore. My heart isn't even wanting to go. I could save $3,500. This is totally wrong."
A similar Facebook page devoted to Lenz and her case has garnered more than 2,150 likes.
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