Former WFT Cheerleaders Ask NFL to Release Full Workplace Culture Report Due to Topless Photos
Former Washington Football Team cheerleaders are asking the National Football League to release the full results from its investigation into the organization's workplace culture after emails from former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden were made public earlier this week.
Gruden, 58, resigned on Monday evening after The New York Times reported that he used racially charged, homophobic, and profane language in his emails. The Times also reported that Gruden shared topless images of cheerleaders with former WFT general manager, Bruce Allen, and other individuals.
"Gruden exchanged emails with Allen and other men that included photos of women wearing only bikini bottoms, including one photo of two Washington team cheerleaders," the Times reported. Gruden has apologized for at least some of the emails in question.
The photos of the women, which featured them nude as they moved around between shots during a photoshoot, were taken as part of videos that were captured by "Washington staffers" without the cheerleaders' knowledge, The Washington Post first reported back in 2020.
According to The New York Post, a group of cheer team members filed complaints about inappropriate behavior and crafted a lawsuit against the NFL regarding the alleged images at the time. The lawsuits, the outlet added, were settled out of court.
The NFL's look into its workplace culture initially ended in July and resulted in a $10 million fine against the WFT, per Business Insider. However, the findings from the report have not yet been released to the public, the outlet added.
Melanie Coburn, a former WFT cheerleader and the squad's marketing director, has crafted a petition asking the NFL to "do the right thing for women" and "make Washington's sexual misconduct investigation public."
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Speaking with The Daily Beast, Coburn said, "It's despicable, really, to see that there is more evidence of exploitation and violation of these cheerleaders who I worked very closely with," adding, "I know that there's a lot more where these emails came from."
A number of the women who sued over the videos had signed NDAs as part of their settlement, Coburn told the outlet. "They're now coming out wondering, 'What the hell, it's more than just these two videos,'" she claimed. "I can only imagine how they feel, and they have no voice."
Former WFT cheerleader Candess Correll also told the outlet that WFT cheerleaders have seen neither the investigation report nor the results from it, even though they are "the actual victims."
"If it wasn't for [The New York Times article,] we would've never known that those pictures were going through the mail servers between these two really important people in the NFL," Correll told The Daily Beast.
In a statement to NPR, Coburn also said that the women involved are "all traumatized," adding, "it's just more anxiety-producing evidence that very private, compromising content was circulating not just amongst our team but apparently the entire NFL."