What The Cameras Don't Show Us On Netflix's Cheer

Get your pom-poms and bows ready, because Netflix has finally released Season 2 of your favorite cheerleading docuseries! "Cheer," produced by director Greg Whiteley of "Last Chance U," debuted in 2020 (via IMDb), giving an inside look at competitive cheerleading and becoming an immediate hit. The series introduces us to Navarro College's incredibly talented team based in Corsicana, Texas. With Monica Aldama as the head coach guiding them to success, we watch the Navarro cheerleaders work toward the NCA's Cheerleading Championship in Daytona, Florida, while navigating the ups and downs they face along the way. 

While focusing on the triumphs of Navarro's elite team, "Cheer" Season 2 introduces Trinity Valley Community College (TVCC), a rival school with an equally-intense cheer program. As the season begins, both teams are preparing to take on the Daytona Championship in full force in early 2020. But, little did they know, the COVID-19 pandemic would tumble its way into their lives, ultimately canceling the event and the season for several members. 

This season of "Cheer" certainly does not shy away from many real-life situations that occurred since its debut, including the pandemic and the September 2020 arrest of Jerry Harris, the fan-favorite Navarro athlete of Season 1 who was charged with production of child pornography (via USA Today). However, the show does miss a detail or two along the way. Keep reading for what the cameras don't show us on Netflix's "Cheer."

Jada Wooten wasn't invited to the 2022 Cheer Live Tour

This season of "Cheer" introduces us to Trinity Valley Community College's Jada Wooten, the lead tumbler who is best known by coach Vontae Johnson for her impeccable leadership skills and passion for her team members (via Men's Health). Throughout the season, we see Wooten work tirelessly to lead her team to success. Spoiler alert: They secure the Daytona Championship ring over Navarro. However, as hard as she's worked to get to the top, she claims that brands have tried to strip her identity and bold personality in the process.

BuzzFeed News reported that Wooten was disinvited to multiple events — specifically the 2022 Cheer Live Tour — that were set to feature other cast members. In a lengthy Instagram post, the TVCC cheerleader opened up about how she's tired of feeling like she's "too much" for the sport and refuses to change who she is. According to Wooten, she signed a contract with Rebel Athletic, a well-known apparel company, and was set to participate in multiple events and photoshoots.

However, Rebel allegedly disinvited her to meet-and-greets due to her use of inappropriate language on the show. "Due to her choice of words in 'Cheer' Season 2, and our median audience being 8 to 10 years old, we asked her to sit out [three] [meet-and-greet] events that would attract a younger audience," the brand said (via BuzzFeed News).

According to La'Darius Marshall, the team's environment isn't all that positive

It's no shock that things aren't always as they seem when it comes to TV and public figures. Unfortunately, "Cheer" Season 1 fan-favorite La'Darius Marshall has officially left the Navarro team and said farewell to his cheerleading days. Halfway through the second season, he opened up about the reason for his departure and how the famous cheer team's environment isn't as positive and supportive as it's made out to be.

Aside from the physical toll cheering took on his body, a coaching issue was a major reason that Marshall officially hung up his cheer suits. According to Distractify, when coach Monica Aldama left the Navarro team to perform on "Dancing with the Stars" in 2020, there was a slight issue with the new coach she appointed, Kailee Peppers. Marshall allegedly had prior issues with Peppers when they previously cheered together and felt he wasn't supported in the way he needed to be on the team. Marshall allegedly felt mistreated by the new coaches, claiming they were verbally abusive and created an uncomfortable space. He later took to his Instagram Live to call out Aldama for leaving her team behind (via StyleCaster). 

In 2021, Marshall left the Navarro team with no regrets. "I did my time. I've cheered with the best of them," he says in Season 2, Episode 6 (via Distractify).

There is much more rivalry between Navarro and Trinity Valley Community College

A major part of the new season of "Cheer" is the introduction of their rival team, Trinity Valley Community College (TVCC). If there is anything we know about the series, it's that both Navarro and TVCC are incredibly fierce when it comes to cheerleading and are serious professionals in the game. The TVCC Cardinals are led by coach Vontae Johnson and assistant coach Khris Frankin, with two star leaders, Jeron Hazelwood and Jada Wooten. However, one slight detail the series leaves out about their competition season: Navarro and TVCC only compete against each other.

According to Cosmopolitan UK, Navarro and TVCC are the only two teams to compete in the junior college division. Coach Monica Aldama revealed in an interview with Slate that there used to be more teams competing in the same division. When the NCA divided groups into "intermediate" and "advanced" categories, a number of teams weren't eligible to compete against Navarro, due to not having the same skillset. "It's really good for teams that just don't have the skills to compete with us, what we do," she said. When more teams were booted to intermediate divisions, Navarro and TVCC were left to compete neck-to-neck. Although, according to Aldama, competing against one team isn't necessarily the worst thing in the world, as it encourages them to achieve the highest overall score.

Cheer filmmaker Greg Whiteley regrets how he portrayed Gabi Butler's family

If you watched Season 1 of "Cheer," then you know there was a major dilemma with how Navarro star Gabi Butler's parents are portrayed in the series. Greg Whiteley, the filmmaker and producer of the Netflix docuseries, says his biggest regret is how he demonstrated the Butler family to the public. "I owe them an apology," he said in an interview with KCRW's The Business (via The Hollywood Reporter). "It's a very cheap way to move a story forward ... I think there's a better way. I think even villains become more interesting when you understand why they do what they do."

During the first season, Butler's parents are seen demonstrating seemingly toxic behaviors, such as fighting and nagging their daughter to eat specific foods so she doesn't gain weight. Since the show's popularity, Butler's parents have received a ton of backlash and criticism online. Although Whiteley claims he still thinks Butler's parents are "crazy," he enjoyed spending time with them during the production of the show. "I don't know how I would have done it differently because six hours seems like a long time but it's not," he said. "They got a fair amount of time — but they were largely used to help move Gabi's story forward."

Lexi Brumback left Navarro because of her academic performance

Just like many other Navarro cheerleaders, Lexi Brumback quickly found fame after the first season of "Cheer" debuted on Netflix in 2020. However, as talented a tumbler as she is, we learned halfway through the second season that Brumback left the popular cheer squad for reasons unknown. Although coach Monica Aldama acknowledged that "Lexi is not here" halfway through the season, viewers were left incredibly confused as to why the skillful cheerleader is no longer on the team. 

In an exclusive interview with PopSugar, Brumback revealed that her grades and falling GPA were to blame for her no longer being part of the team or eligible to compete in the 2021 Daytona competition. She stated that she has "really bad ADHD," and, while already struggling academically in an online classroom environment due to the pandemic, it took a major toll on her mental health. Ultimately, she "wasn't able to come back for a second semester" or compete alongside her team members. However, as difficult and sad as it was for her to leave the team, she acknowledged that it's not going to be her forever. "I love cheer, it was a huge part of my life, but that's not the career path that I want to take," she explained.

Navarro coach Monica Aldama has faced many challenges during filming

In the cheer world, if you know Navarro College, you immediately know coach Monica Aldama, known for her great coaching skills and her record of leading her competitive team to multiple national championships. In Season 2 of "Cheer," we learn that the Navarro team and Aldama have experienced many professional and personal struggles since the first season of "Cheer" wrapped.

According to Entertainment Tonight, Aldama and the Navarro team did not think the show would become as popular as it did when it first aired. All eyes were on Aldama, and, although she is well known for being the greatest coach in cheerleading, she caught a lot of negative attention for her teaching methods. From being criticized by former team member La'Darius Marshall for her decision to leave Navarro to join "Dancing with the Stars" to dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and to Season 1's Jerry Harris' arrest for child pornography production, times became incredibly tough for the head coach. "I think this is a culmination of hit after hit after hit," Aldama said. "Dealing with a very mentally challenging time, where things are very different than they normally are ... it was a lot. It was challenge after challenge."

Gabi Butler would 'never turn her back' on Jerry Harris

Being part of a competitive sport, it's inevitable that your teammates become your family over time. During the second season of "Cheer," producers did not shy away from the Jerry Harris scandal, as they address the situation head on in the fifth episode of the season, titled "Jerry." Harris, otherwise known as "mat talk" on the team, was a Navarro athlete and fan favorite during the first season. In September 2020, Harris was charged with producing child pornography. He later admitted to exchanging explicit messages through Snapchat and partaking in sexual activity with minors (via USA Today). 

Gabi Butler, Harris' former teammate, claimed that, although she does not condone his alleged actions, she still views him as family. According to E! News, Butler was devastated when she learned Harris was charged with seven different sex crimes. "I don't agree with what he was accused of or condone it at all. And it is very unfortunate and it breaks my heart," she said. "But it's literally like your family. How are you gonna just hate your family?" She acknowledged she could never hate him and that she couldn't "turn [her] back on him," as "he was there for [her]."

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Gabi Butler may return to Navarro for her final season

If you're familiar with "Cheer," then you know that Gabi Butler is a force to be reckoned with in the cheer world. Butler has been cheerleading professionally since she was 8 years old and debuted her intense skills and flexibility on the Netflix series (via Bustle). Aside from her newfound fame as an athlete on the popular team, Butler is known for her large social media presence where she posts tutorials and videos to Instagram and YouTube of her performing impressive stunts. As famous as she has become, this leads fans to wonder: Will Butler be featured in a potential Season 3?

To put it simply, yes, there is a possibility. Butler revealed in an Instagram post that she was back for another season in August 2020. In an exclusive interview with Hollywood Life, Navarro coach Monica Aldama confirmed that 2020 athletes, including Butler, are eligible for another year of competing due to the canceled season. "Technically I do have one more year [at Navarro]," Butler hinted to Marie Claire. "At a junior college you can only do three years; 2021 was my third year. But because of COVID they gave everyone one more year of eligibility...so, yes? I'm not really sure what I'm doing with my life right now but just stay tuned."

Even though the second season is here for our viewing pleasure, we can't wait for more!