Two NFL teams have a lot of people talking, and it's not for off-season moves and draft prospects.
Former Miami Dolphins cheerleader Kristan Ann Ware is suing the Miami Dolphins for religious and gender discrimination.
"It was a year-long bout of incidences, and many got worse and worse" says Ware's attorney Sara Blackwell. "It started with her being called into an interview, which was supposed to recap the year before the tryouts for the next year, and when she sat down for the recap of the year, her director and the coaches were all sitting there, and the director said, 'So, I heard you're a virgin; let's talk about your virginity.'"
Ware explained it was based on her faith and her commitment to God to wait until she was married.
"They said that 'we want to help you become a woman' and 'you need to switch; you need to be able to be one thing out there and one thing in the world of the Miami Dolphins,'" Blackwell continues. "They told her not to talk about her commitment to God, as a vow to God, or her virginity, and it just got worse and worse from there. She couldn't do it anymore, and then she didn't try out for the next year."
Blackwell is also representing former New Orleans cheerleader Bailey Davis in a complaint filed in March with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Davis says she was fired over blatantly discriminatory social media and fraternization policies. According to Blackwell, male players are treated differently than female cheerleaders.
"They are not stopped, or prohibited, or limited, or treated in a negative way for expressing their beliefs, whereas the cheerleaders got treated in a very negative way," she explains. "We're not out for revenge. This is about trying to bring attention to this matter and get the NFL and the teams to allow the cheerleaders to speak out freely without intimidation and manipulation; let them explain the discrimination, harassment, and all the things that have been going on, which have been documented in The New York Times recently, and let us talk about how we can remedy it."
That New York Times article, written by Juliet Macur and John Branch, involves pro cheerleaders who say groping and sexual harassment are part of the job.
OneNewsNow sought comment from the Miami Dolphins about the lawsuit from Kristan Ann Ware and received the following statements:
"We are seriously committed to providing a positive work environment for everyone associated with the organization. We hold every member of our organization to the same standards and do not discriminate as it relates to gender, race and religious beliefs.
"On background: In 2016, we were made aware of an incident with our cheerleaders that fell short of our standards and expectations. We immediately addressed the issue and reprimanded the supervisor who subsequently apologized to the entire team. We were in communication with Kristan throughout this time and she personally told us that she appreciated how it was handled."
The New Orleans Saints did not respond by press time. However, WWL-TV reports that outside legal counsel for the New Orleans Saints released the following statement:
"The New Orleans Saints is an equal opportunity employer, and it denies that Ms. Davis was discriminated against because she is female. The Saints will defend these allegations in due course, and the Organization is confident that its policies and workplace rules will withstand legal scrutiny."