The attorneys for several Washington Football Team cheerleaders who accused the organization of workplace misconduct called on the NFL to release the findings of its investigation into the franchise.
Lisa Banks and Debra Katz released the joint statement on Tuesday, hours after Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden stepped down as emails showed he sent misogynistic and homophobic messages to several people, including former Washington president Bruce Allen.
Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden speaks on his headset during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
According to The New York Times, Gruden’s emails with Allen and others included “photos of women wearing only bikini bottoms, including one photo of two Washington cheerleaders.”
“It is truly outrageous that after the NFL’s 10-month long investigation involving hundreds of witnesses and 650,000 documents related to the longtime culture of harassment and abuse at the Washington Football Team, the only person to be held accountable and lose their job is the coach of the Las Vegas Raiders,” the statement read.
“If the NFL felt it appropriate to release these offensive emails from Jon Gruden, which it obtained during its investigation into the Washington Football Team, it must also release the findings related to the actual target of that investigation. Our clients and the public at large deserve transparency and accountability. If not, the NFL and Roger Goodell must explain why they appear intent on protecting the Washington Football Team and owner Dan Snyder at all costs.”
Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden wears an Oakland Raiders hat before an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
Melanie Coburn, a former Washington cheerleader, started a petition calling on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to release the findings of the investigation into the organization.
“The NFL must do the right thing and make the sexual misconduct investigation of the WFT public AND hold Dan Snyder accountable for the history of serial sexual harassment within his organization,” Coburn wrote.
In 2018, The New York Times reported that some cheerleaders were forced to pose topless and act as escorts during a calendar photo shoot trip to Costa Rica in 2013. Three dozen cheerleaders made the trip to Occidental Grand Papagayo, an adults-only resort, for the photo shoot, and according to the newspaper they were forced to pose topless and wearing body paint. The near-nude photos were never published but the photos came up again in the latest report from Monday.
Coburn told NPR she wasn’t a part of the salacious shoot but was in contact with the cheerleaders who were.
“They’re all traumatized. It’s just more anxiety-producing evidence that very private, compromising content was circulating not just amongst our team but apparently the entire NFL. So it’s been an emotional 24 hours, to say the least,” Coburn said.
Former Washington cheerleaders accused the franchise of workplace misconduct. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
NFL vice president of communications Brian McCarthy told NPR the league has no plans to release emails related to the investigation.
“We have released no emails during this process and have no plans to do so,” he said.