What to Know
- Kristan Ware filed the complaint alleging that several coaches told her not to talk about her virginity according to a report.
- The complaint says that Ware told her fellow cheerleaders she was a virgin during a 2015 road trip.
A former Miami Dolphins cheerleader has filed a complaint against the team and the NFL, claiming harassment by several of the squad’s coaches after revealing she is a virgin.
Kristan Ware filed the complaint Wednesday with the Florida Commission on Human Relations, alleging that several coaches, including director Dorie Grogan and choreographer Brooke Nix, told her not to talk about her virginity, according to a report obtained by NBC 6.
According to the report, Ware told her fellow cheerleaders during a 2015 road trip that she was a virgin and, in April of the following year, Grogan and Nix met with her during an evaluation and questioned how the squad knew about it. Grogan allegedly said, “As far as we are concerned, you have taken something that was once upon a time pure and beautiful and you’ve made it dirty.”
Nix said she thought it was “still beautiful” before instructing Ware not to discuss it anymore with other people in public, according to the report.
Ware later stated that she was instructed to pose in a bikini and heels for a photo shoot. When she returned, Ware alleges Grogan told her to hold several pieces of fruit like they were male genitals and instructed to “make love to the camera,” according to the report.
The three-year veteran of the cheerleading team said Grogan also physically harmed her during a fashion show and that harassment continued after she filed a complaint with the team’s human resource department in 2016, also claiming the team would censor blog posts she wrote openly discussing her faith and would not promote any of her social media posts that mentioned religion.
“The NFL and all NFL member clubs support fair employment practices,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement to The Washington Post. “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.
Ware, who is being represented by the same lawyer as a New Orleans Saints cheerleader involved in a discrimination case against her team, claims she is being discriminated on the basis of gender. She says players are not reprimanded when they use religious speech and cheerleaders are held to a different standard.
The Miami Dolphins released a statement over the allegations Thursday afternoon.
“We are seriously committed to providing a positive work environment for everyone associated with the organization," the Miami Dolphins said in a statement. "We hold every member of our organization to the same standards and do not discriminate as it relates to gender, race and religious beliefs.”
A team source said the organization became aware of an incident in 2016 related to the cheerleaders that fell short of its standards and expectations, adding it immediately addressed the issue and reprimanded the supervisor who later apologized to the entire team.