The Greatest Carolina Panthers Cheerleaders Fight Story Ever Told


NFL cheerleaders don’t have an easy life. Teams don’t pay dance squads very well. Plus, they deal with lewd remarks from drunken idiots in the stands all the time. So you can understand that every once in awhile, young cheerleaders go out on the town, have an adult beverage, and cut loose. Unfortunately, two Carolina Panthers cheerleaders picked the wrong city for a night out. Naturally, this epic NFL story could only take place in Florida.

The year was 2006. Carolina Panthers cheerleaders Angela Ellen Keathley and Renee Thomas were arrested at a Tampa, Florida nightclub named Banana’s Joes, They were charged with disorderly conduct, battery, and obstructing or opposing a police officer. Sure, it wasn’t a good night for the Panthers’ TopCats or the NFL. Furthermore, as the salacious details of the arrest became public, the situation got worse. On the other hand, depending on your point of view–the story got better.

Angela Keathley and Renee Thomas

Cheerleaders Gone Wild

What exactly happened that faithful night in Tampa? The police report obtained by the and from witness statements at Banana Joe’s reads like a Penthouse letter. Nightclub patrons heard Carolina Panthers’ TopCats Renee Thomas and Angela Keathly moaning and engaging in sexual activity with each other. The cheerleaders and attorneys deny that sex was taking place in the restroom in statements to the press. As a result of their liaison, other customers got angry and started yelling “because they took too long” in the stall. When the cheerleaders emerged from the restroom, the arguing escalated and one of the cheerleaders punched a third woman in the face, giving her a black eye.

ESPN reported, “Keathley, who was escorted from the nightclub, was so drunk she could barely stand, the report said. Police described Keathley as rude and belligerent with police.” When Thomas was arrested, she gave police the name of another Panthers cheerleader — Kristen Lanier Owen, the Observer, and reported. Holy crap, what a night, and what exactly did they drink at that bar?


NFL and Panthers React

The Panthers dismissed the cheerleaders from the squad the following Monday for violating a signed code of conduct. The two violated a rule that bans conduct that’s embarrassing to the team or organization. The story ranked among the top three most-viewed in’s nine-year history. On, more people e-mailed it to friends Monday than any other story. The Panthers‘ Web site, which features photos of its cheerleaders, bent under so many hits that it was shut down. Even Jay Leno joked about the women on “The Tonight Show.”

Talk about an epic girl fight. We may never know what actually happened in that bathroom, but the mystery makes the story even more intriguing.