Kristan Ann Ware, a former Miami Dolphins cheerleader, claims she was discriminated against by the franchise for her religious beliefs and virginity. Ware was on the squad for three years when she says she was confronted about her virginity and asked to stop talking about it and her faith publicly. Ware filed a complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations earlier this week.
The Washington Post has a detailed report on the complaint.
Ware lasted one more season after the confrontation but claims that year caused her “emotional and physical distress.”
The news comes amid a recent string of former NFL cheerleaders coming forward to speak out on harassment and unequal treatment on the job.
From the report:
“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.
A statement from NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy reads, “The NFL and all NFL member clubs support fair employment practices. 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 Dolphins have yet to comment.
Ware is expected to speak to ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” at 1:00 p.m. ET on Thursday afternoon.