One woman had to endure a grotesque amount of blatant, gritty, and disgusting sexual harassment at the NFL Network and, despite her complaints, no one did anything about it. What’s worse is she was fired in 2016 after she complained about it and other things.
The NFL Network suspended a trio of analysts, including Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk, after allegations of sexual harassment by a former co-worker.
The former football players, including Heath Evans and Ike Taylor, allegedly groped and made sexually explicit comments to female colleague Jami Cantor, according to a lawsuit filed against NFL Enterprises by Cantor, a former wardrobe stylist at the NFL Network.
Alex Riethmiller, a spokesman for the NFL Network, said Faulk, Taylor and Evans were suspended pending the investigation
The allegations against the retired players and former NFL Network executive producer Eric Weinberger, who’s now president of sports commentator Bill Simmons’s media group, are part of a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court. An amended complaint filed Monday detailed specific acts of harassment by several individuals who aren’t named as defendants.
Cantor said Weinberger sent “several nude pictures of himself and sexually explicit texts” and told her she was “put on earth to pleasure me.” He also pressed his crotch against Cantor’s shoulder and asked her to touch it, according to the complaint.
She said she was also sexually harassed by on-air talent. Faulk would ask Cantor “deeply personal and invasive questions” about her sex life and fondled her breasts and groped her behind, according to the complaint.
Taylor sent Cantor “sexually inappropriate” pictures and a video of him masturbating in the shower, according to the filing. Donovan McNabb, a former analyst, also texted her explicit comments, according to the compliant. McNabb now works for ESPN, which said in a statement that neither the former quarterback nor another employee cited in the complaint, Eric Davis, would appear on its networks during an NFL investigation into the allegations.
The NY Times adds even more:
Cantor worked as a wardrobe stylist for the network from 2006 until she was fired in October 2016. She filed an amended complaint on Monday that more fully laid out the allegations of sexual harassment and assault against the three analysts, all former N.F.L. players.
In the complaint, Cantor says that Faulk, a Hall of Fame running back, asked personal questions about her sex life, fondled her and pulled out his genitals while demanding oral sex; that Evans, a former fullback, sent nude pictures and propositioned her; and that Taylor, a former cornerback, sent her a video that showed him masturbating. Cantor said that Weinberger, who left the network in 2015, groped her and put his crotch against her.
The lawsuit also said that Cantor had been harassed by the former N.F.L. players and ex-NFL Network analysts Donovan McNabb and Warren Sapp, as well as by the former network employee Marc Watts. Sapp was fired from the network in 2015 after being arrested for assault and soliciting prostitution. McNabb left the network in 2013, but later lost a job with Fox Sports after pleading guilty to drunken driving in November 2015.
“The supervisors knew about it, the supervisors observed it,” Cantor’s lawyer, Laura Horton, said in an interview on Monday. “It was insidious in this particular environment.”
According to Bloomberg, Cantor is suing for wrongful termination:
Cantor first filed her case in October, claiming wrongful termination. Laura Horton, a lawyer for Cantor, said by phone “it’s outrageous conduct and I fully intend to hold the NFL Network responsible.”
Cantor said she complained about the sexual advances from former NFL players to Marc Watts, the league’s talent coordinator but that he did nothing and said, “It’s part of the job when you look the way you do,” according to the complaint. Watts didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
Cantor said she also complained about other working conditions at the network, including a failure to reimburse her for expenses and a lack of compensation for the hours she worked. She was terminated by her supervisor at the NFL in October 2016, when she was 51, and replaced by a 30-year-old, according to the complaint.
Unbelievable. Just when the NFL is trying to recover from a disastrous year of National Anthem protests, now it becomes embroiled in a disastrous sexual harassment case.
All of this after the controversies over the way it dealt with players and domestic abuse.
I have a feeling that Goodell and the NFL will have to come down very hard on the NFL Network, because this level of sexual harassment isn’t just bad, it’s Harvey Weinstein bad.
Here’s the full complaint via Deadspin: