For three years, Kristan Ann Ware exuberantly cheered for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. In a recent interview with NBC affiliate WFLA, the 27-year-old woman said, “I loved my job.” Unfortunately, like too many other Christians in today’s workplace, Ware claimed she was discriminated against and mocked due to her closely held faith.
After the alleged intolerance occurred, the former cheerleader admitted the job she once enjoyed so much “became unbearable.” She filed a formal complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations and requested a meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Ware’s troubles on the job reportedly began during a team trip to London in October 2015. During what should have been an exciting adventure for the former performer, her fellow cheerleaders began mentioning their “sex playlist.” Ware said she “was pushed to give her playlist.” Her complaint included, “Kristin told her teammates that she was waiting until she was married because of her personal relationship with God. She was sensitive to everyone around her having different beliefs and ideals so she further stated that it was her personal conviction.”
The beleaguered young woman also claimed the discrimination got worse after she both posted a Scripture verse and a picture of her getting baptized on social media. During an interview for returning cheerleaders in April of 2016, Ware insisted the Miami Dolphins cheerleader director Dorie Grogan told her, “Let’s talk about your virginity. 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.”
During an interview with Bob Ley’s ESPN show “Outside the Lines,” Ware stated, “And it shocked me at first and still shocks me today. But they ended up saying that my virginity was dirty and that I was not allowed to talk about it anymore with anyone, where I confessed that it was only due to my faith and my vow to God to wait until marriage.”
The discrimination didn’t stop there. The former cheerleader participated in a rehearsal for a fashion show in 2016. During this event, cheerleaders walked the runway while wearing bikinis. Ware contended she was mocked for her Christian faith by being required to wear a huge pair of “angel wings.”
On another occasion, the former cheerleader wrote a “Motivation Monday” entry for the team’s blog. Ware asserted the writing described her cheerleader audition. But, the former performer claimed her references to God and Christ were cut out of her piece before it was posted. In addition to these troubling allegations, Ware said she was wrongly accused of “groping a fan’s breast and butt at an appearance.”
A Miami Dolphins team source informed NBC News the team knew about the reported incident with Grogen. The source revealed Grogen had already been reprimanded for her actions. This individual went on to say Grogen “subsequently apologized to the entire team.” However, according to NBC, Grogen is still on the team.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy weighed in to NBC concerning Ware’s claims.
“The NFL and all NFL member clubs support fair employment practices,” he said. “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.”
In an interview with CBS, Ware talked about the double standard she feels exists for NFL cheerleaders and players.
“I felt like I was walking on eggshells, but yet a football player can publicly announce whatever he believes in,” she said. “Whether it’s kneeling for a political indifference or kneeling because he does have a relationship with God and he wants the pray before a game, he has a right to do that.”
Twenty-seven teams in the NFL employ cheerleaders. The only ones that don’t are the Buffalo Bills, the Chicago Bears, the Green Bay Packers, the New York Giants, and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Although Ware feels she’s experienced persecution for her faith, the former cheerleader told NBC “I still love football. I am still a fan.”
~ 1776 Christian