Several stories about NFL cheerleaders being harassed and having bad working environments have surfaced in recent weeks. We have another one.
A former Miami Dolphins cheerleader says she was discriminated against after she revealed her virginity to the team. She says she was asked about being a virgin and told to stop talking about it and her faith.
The Washington Post has the details on Kristan Ann Ware, who in 2016 says she was asked about her virginity during a performance review. She stuck with the team for one more season and now says that year brought both emotional and physical distress.
Ware soon realized her interview would not go as she expected. Shortly after it began, according to a complaint Ware filed Wednesday with the Florida Commission on Human Relations, one of her coaches tapped on a stack of papers and said, “Let’s talk about your virginity.”
By the time she left the office, Ware had been told by two coaches she could no longer discuss her personal vow to forego sex before marriage, and she had been photographed in a bikini while trying not to cry.
“It was like a bus hit me,” Ware said. “I was completely speechless. All that formed on my face were tears.”
Ware lasted one more season as a Dolphins cheerleader, a year she alleges brought her emotional and physical distress. Now, Ware is filing a complaint against the Dolphins and the NFL with a state labor board. In the complaint, Ware alleges she faced hostility and retaliation from Dolphins cheerleading coaches and was discriminated against on behalf of her gender and religion. She and her lawyer say the NFL could do more to protect cheerleaders, but instead has ignored them.
The Dolphins have yet to comment on the claims. The NFL released the following statement:
“The NFL and all NFL member clubs support fair employment practices,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said. “Everyone who works in the NFL, including cheerleaders, has the right to work in a positive and respectful environment that is free from any and all forms of harassment and discrimination and fully complies with state and federal laws. Our office will work with our clubs in sharing best practices and employment-related processes that will support club cheerleading squads within an appropriate and supportive workplace.”
The former cheerleader is reportedly set to appear on ESPN’s Outside The Lines today.
.@OTLonESPN has an exclusive interview today with a former Dolphins cheerleader who is claiming she was discriminated against because of her religious beliefs. 1PM ET.
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) April 12, 2018
The former Dolphins cheerleader is set to appear on ESPN this afternoon. OTL will air at 1 p.m. E.T.