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Controversy has broken out around the Baltimore Ravens, and not because Ray Lewis was once accused of murder or may have used deer antler spray to recover from a torn triceps.

Courtney Lenz, a 23-year old Maryland native, has been a member of the team’s cheerleading squad for five years.

But she has been barred from the Super Bowl sidelines because she announced her retirement at the end of the regular season.

Philadelphia Eagles Helmet

And with an online petition out there to reinstate her for the big game, Lenz has spoken to ABC News and explained how crushed she is by the development.


“I’m just devastated by the whole situation,” she says. “This was very unexpected… I didn’t even think there would be a chance of me not going with being a five-year veteran.”

Lenz believes the Ravens are simply punishing her for quitting the team, which she was forced to do once her marketing job schedule made it impossible to do both.

“They’ve been really hard on me this year since I told them I was leaving,” Lenz said, adding that she “thought it was a mistake” when her name was not included among the 32 cheerleaders announced for the game.

But Ravens spokeswoman Heather Harness simply says in a statement:

“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.”

Do you think Lenz should have been among the final cut? Even though she did drop out a few weeks ago?