The NFL cheerleading world is a wild, wild place. I feel every few months there’s another story that pops up of a former cheerleader suing her former team or the league for something. Last year, it was the former Niners and Raiders cheerleaders suing after the team’s basically paid them pennies for an entire season. Literally just last week we had a Saints cheerleader get fired for posting an IG (her account was private, by the way) of her in some lingerie. Meanwhile, the team was peddling calendars with photos of her in a bikini.
Now we have this story. A former Dolphins cheerleader named Kristan Ware is the latest to file a complaint against her team and this one is a doozy. She’s accusing them of discrimination after her coaches and teammates found out that she was a virgin and planned on waiting until marriage. Yesterday she filed the complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations.
Here are details from the NY Times:
Ware contended that she became “a target of discipline, ridicule, harassment and abuse” from the team’s cheerleading director, Dorie Grogan, and other coaches and representatives of the squad only after she posted an off-season photo on social media of herself being baptized before her third season with the team.
Ware said some Dolphins cheerleading coaches mocked her after other cheerleaders learned that she was a virgin, planning to wait for marriage to have sex. At a 2016 rehearsal for a fashion show at which cheerleaders modeled bikinis, Ware claims, she was dressed with angel wings — something Ware believes was a poke at her virginity — and then physically grabbed and verbally harangued by Grogan as she exited the runway.
Some might say that being made fun of or mocked because of your virginity doesn’t exactly constitute discrimination, but the Washington Post has more details from the complaint that definitely help her case.
In April 2016, Kristan Ann Ware felt excited as she walked into an annual work review. As a Miami Dolphins cheerleader, Ware had to re-apply for her job every season, but as a performer entering her third year, she only looked forward to a new role and the chance, as a veteran, to give younger teammates guidance.
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.
Now we’re getting into uncharted waters. Once you start forbidding people from discussing religion, while 90% of the players are thanking God after every game, that’s where you get into trouble and that’s where Kristan has herself a case.
Here’s an idea: maybe just treat these cheerleaders like normal people and employees, and these teams can stop worrying about getting sued every which way all the time.