Dawn Neufeld’s Playbook – Football Wives Episode 5

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Dawn Neufeld of Football Wives has agreed to blog for us, giving us weekly behind-the-scenes insight and dishing on each of her show’s episodes. Her take on Episode 5 is below (the bolding is our editorial emphasis, not hers)

Cookiegate on the Cookie Cruise!

Pilar has been blowing up the airwaves this week insinuating I am not a good mother, wife and professional because of my behavior on this week’s episode. This coming from the woman who claims that she is the victim of bullying by the Football Wives cast and that she is the innocent party in all of this. This is a tough blog for me to write because I’m a little emotional after watching this episode and reading some of the hateful and disparaging comments online about the incident we jokingly refer to as “Cookiegate.” Of course, I’m referring to the confrontation on the boat where I wasted a perfectly good and tasty chocolate chip cookie by throwing it at Pilar. What in the world would make me so mad that I’d throw a cookie? According to folks on the web, it’s because I’m jealous of Pilar’s beauty and money. Maybe it was a little “liquid courage” that gave me the nerve to tell Pilar how I really felt about her and her behavior. Here is a little behind-the-scenes perspective that might give some insight on how the Cookiegate scandal came to fruition…

Before I delve into the drama, let me explain a little bit about Ryan’s injury and our financial situation. Ryan suffered a relatively minor PCL tear. It’s a minor injury because it doesn’t require surgery and with intense rehab, a player can be back on the field in a couple of weeks. Actually, after Ryan felt the pop in his knee that day, he went on to complete practice – he didn’t even think it was that big of a deal. Ryan was told by his coaches that they planned on bringing him back to Omaha once he completed his rehab. Ryan spent several weeks at a facility in Birmingham, Alabama where he worked tirelessly so that he could be cleared and get back on the field. We were both devastated to hear that Ryan was not on the Nighthawks’ roster on cut day and that, in fact, they had given his number away to another player. Ryan really thought the team was going to stick by him and even hoped that at some point this season, they would bring him back to Omaha if there was a need. So much for loyalty. Unfortunately, this happens A LOT in football. Guys get hurt, they are told they’ll be brought back, then they never hear from the team again.

Bottom line – Ryan got laid off. There was no severance package, no compensation for his time, injury, etc. Many folks in this economy know exactly what this feels like, and they know how hard and difficult finding another job can be. Ryan is currently working for the National Collegiate Scouting Association and is enjoying what he’s doing. But he hates that he wasn’t able to play in what was supposed to be his last football season and hang up his cleats on his own terms.

Moving on, let’s talk about the boat trip and what turned into a screaming match in the middle of Lake Lewisville on a perfect Texas summer day. This is where writing this blog is going to be hard. I cannot address what happened on the boat without talking about my experiences with Pilar leading up to that day. Folks are going to say that I’m just hating on Pilar or that I’m jealous. Neither are true. What I know is that there are a lot of people on Team Pilar – like, a lot of people and they really, really like her and will defend her at my expense. This became apparent to me when I got booed on stage at a club appearance this weekend after I told the crowd to tune into the show to watch me cuss Pilar out. I realized that a lot of people love her public persona – her beauty, wealth and lifestyle are captivating and interesting to people. But it was her blatant disrespect for those around her lucky enough to be graced by her presence that finally pushed me to my breaking point.

As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I was open to developing a friendship with Pilar in the beginning and hoped we would do so. I even said the following during one of my early interviews for the show: “I like Pilar. She seems like a nice person and we have a lot in common. I look forward to getting to know her.” We actually had some great interactions early on, from a wonderful dinner at an Italian restaurant to her coming to my house for our going-away barbecue for the guys. Contrary to what Pilar has said, we were not out to get her from the beginning.

I stated in a previous blog that the day we had to drive an hour south at the last minute for Pilar’s boot camp was the beginning of the end for me. I couldn’t understand why in the world we would all be inconvenienced and have to drive so far away to get to boot camp when Pilar’s spacious property (football-field included) and other perfectly suitable locations were available much closer to home. The second I pulled into the parking lot, everything became clear when I saw a sign for the Sanders’ football program. It appeared to me that boot camp had been set up to help promote their football team. Don’t get me wrong – I have no problem with people on reality shows hawking their products and businesses. We were all supportive of each other’s endeavors on our show. But I found out from a close and reliable friend shortly after boot camp that Pilar usually didn’t conduct this fitness program at football practice. I was bothered that we’d all been inconvenienced that day but like Pilar said in the boot camp episode, we should’ve been more appreciative for being allowed into her world.

As taping of Football Wives continued, patterns began to emerge. Pilar would arrive at the scheduled call times and then we’d have to wait for her to apply her makeup which took a while. I can name two specific occasions off the top of my head that I remember this happening – once at a taping at a high-end boutique and another at a cast dinner. For me, time is money – missed hours at work, time away from my family, babysitting, etc. My time is precious, and having to wait for Pilar didn’t make me happy.

Pilar was always very standoffish with us. It seemed as though we were expected to go out of our way to be nice to her (and we always were – very cordial and inviting), but we were lucky if she even spoke to us if the cameras weren’t rolling. I remember one particular evening at a local Mexican restaurant – we had a little time to kill before we started shooting and Pilar went and stood in the corner on her phone while the rest of us hung out. The second we sat down for dinner and the cameras started rolling, she acted like we were all good friends. Pilar made several comments to me that night that rubbed me the wrong way. She made several references to me having a margarita – she would say that I’d had too much to drink and I needed a sip of water. Other cast mates were having cocktails and she didn’t make any comments about their drinking. She went on to say several times that I was so “skinny.” Under normal circumstances, I’d take this as a compliment because I work hard to take care of and maintain my figure. But she kept saying things like, “You need to eat. You’re so skinny.” I interpreted her comments as implying that I might have an eating disorder. I asked another cast mate if she was hearing the same thing and she told me yes. Pilar would later go on to say she was just kidding. I’m not sure when alcoholism or eating disorders became something to joke about but I certainly didn’t think it was funny.

What pushed me over the edge with Pilar was when I confirmed the rumor circulating that Pilar would not let our crew use the restrooms in her palatial home – they had to use the pool house like they were hired help. I understand not letting random strangers into your house to pee, but we worked with the same crew for almost four months and they were amazing! They were always respectful of my space, my home, and my family. They would come into my house and play with my kids and pets. We broke bread together. They really did become a part of the family. It was hard for me to hear that they were being disrespected. I thought I might’ve been making too much about the situation until I recently heard a radio interview in which Pilar addressed the Internet story that said she wouldn’t allow the crew to use one of her 13 bathrooms. During the interview, she never actually denied the allegation. What she said was something along the lines of that she has more than 13 bathrooms and more than 109 acres of land. She went on to say that she doesn’t let just anyone into her home to disrespect it and leave their droppings all over the place. Droppings? Who refers to other human beings using the word “droppings?” If that isn’t disrespectful, I don’t know what is.

My final straw was the evening we took our cast picture – this was the night before we went out on the cookie cruise. We’d gathered at a beautiful home in Westlake, Texas for the shoot and the incredibly generous homeowners set us up in their fully-equipped gym with all the necessary facilities to get ready. Pilar walked in with the homeowner, saw the room we were in and then asked if there was somewhere else she could change. She has since said that the room was “too crowded.” It seemed to work for the rest of us. It upset me that she wouldn’t let the crew impose on her and her home by using her bathroom facilities, but she’d impose on this homeowner and insist on changing somewhere else. I knew Pilar was in ear shot of me that night when I voiced my disapproval of her behavior because I could hear her giggling in the nearby room. You could’ve cut the tension that night with a knife as we sat for our cast picture. It was very clear that evening that a definitive line had been drawn. It did seem like “everyone vs. Pilar,” but not without good reason. I know a lot of these examples may seem like small and petty things to get upset about, but when they happen over and over again over a short period of time, it’s easy to get fed up and have enough!

That’s exactly what happened on the cookie cruise. We got on the boat that evening ready to have a good time. Pilar came on the cruise because she had to – not because she wanted to. I can’t blame her – no one was really happy with her at that point, which is why Melani had a point when she said to us that Pilar was “brave” for getting on the boat. Pilar did get on the boat, posted up in her seat, and got on her phone as usual. At one point we were taking a cast picture – after taking one without Pilar, I asked her to get in the picture. After all, we are a cast and I wanted my memories of the Football Wives experience to include all of us. She initially protested and said no. I asked again and she agreed. The calm before the storm…

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We were about two hours into the cruise before all hell broke loose. We’d been having an amazing time – taking turns on the pole, enjoying the sunset and goofing around – just having fun. Chanita even threw my flip flop into the lake after the other one fell in. We just laughed about it. Things got serious when Amanda asked why Pilar didn’t show any concern about Chanita being in the hospital. I can tell you this – I certainly wouldn’t have expected Pilar to go out of her way to visit Chanita in the hospital or at home. They aren’t friends so why would she? What I did expect was that she would show some concern, and she didn’t. Watching last night’s episode confirmed to me that Chanita’s health was not on Pilar’s radar as something to be concerned about.

Then it happened – Pilar lied about not knowing what was going on with Chanita (as confirmed by Erin who doesn’t say a lot, but when she does, it’s golden). I just couldn’t take it anymore. Yes, I was disrespectful to Pilar on that boat but she’d lost my respect a long time ago. As she talked to me in her condescending tones, calling me “sweetie” and “honey,” I had just had it. The only thing in my hand was a cookie, so I threw it. I did not throw the cookie at her – my aim is pretty good and if I wanted to hit her, I would’ve. But I also know that I might’ve been the target of a battery lawsuit if it had, and I wasn’t going to subject myself to that. And remember when Pilar “joked” about me being skinny at the restaurant? She sure did tell me to sit my skinny behind down on the boat. I bet she was joking then too.

I can take full responsibility for the language I used on the cruise, but I will not back down for standing up for what I believe is right. I hope that at some point, Pilar might take some responsibility for her part in this – she is not innocent. Pilar said on the boat that night that we’re not friends, we will never be friends, that I’m never invited to her house, and that I want her life. Why on earth would I be cordial to someone who has been so rude and disrespectful to me? She let me know exactly how she felt about me on the cruise that night – and I didn’t mince words either. You do see me shut up at one point though – nothing was getting accomplished and I was tired of the drama. I was over it.

I know this was a long blog but I had to tell what happened behind-the-scenes so people had a better understanding of why I blew up. People say that I am jealous of Pilar because of her money and beauty. If it’s the money, wouldn’t I be hatin’ on Amanda too? Amanda is loaded – like tens of millions of dollars loaded – but I love her to death and she has become a great friend from shooting the show. So is it beauty? I think Pilar is stunning. I said it – STUNNING! She is a beautiful, beautiful woman. But I’ve been around plenty of beautiful women and beauty is certainly not something I covet – that would make me pretty shallow.

If Pilar takes issue with anything I’ve said in this blog, she is more than welcome to post her own blog entry – and I encourage her to do so if I somehow misinterpreted her behavior.

Make sure you tune in for the next episode – Pilar and I aren’t done yet. But you’ll also see what can happen when we push our issues aside in the name of football.

You can contact Dawn via Facebook and Twitter.

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