The NFL has a serious problem.
First of all, they’ve taken a hit because of activist players kneeling during the national anthem (something they’re within their rights to do… but fans are equally within their rights to turn them off).
Now they’ve been caught up in the whole sex abuse mania.
Well, a number of the NFL Network analysts have.
The network has issued a statement to the press, saying they’ve suspended Marshall Faulk, Ike Taylor and Heath Evans, after a former wardrobe stylist, Jami Cantor, claimed to have been sexually harassed by all three men.
Faulk is accused of groping Cantor from behind and exposing himself to her in his hotel room. Taylor is accused of sending Cantor “sexually inappropriate” photos of himself over text message. Evans is also accused of sending Cantor nude photos of himself, as well as sexually suggestive comments.
The three have been suspended “pending an investigation into these allegations,” the statement said. Three other former players who are no longer NFL Network employees, Donovan McNabb, Warren Sapp and Eric Davis, are also named and accused of sexual misconduct in the filing. McNabb and Davis were suspended by ESPN while it investigates the accusations.
What is it about this woman that made her such a target? I’m going to guess proximity. Apparently, they have no ability to control themselves in close quarters with a woman.
The claims are ugly. And they don’t stop with the on-air personalities.
Cantor also names Eric Weinberger, an executive with The Ringer, a media group owned by a former ESPN writer, Bill Simmons. Weinberger, according to Cantor, pressed his crotch against her and asked her to touch it, while he was an executive producer with the network.
“These are very serious and disturbing allegations that we were made aware of today,” a statement from The Ringer obtained by USA Today reads. “We are placing Eric on leave indefinitely until we have a better understanding of what transpired during his time at the NFL, and we will conduct our own internal investigation.”
Hey, guys, see Eric? Don’t be like Eric.
Or any of the other guys getting swept up in this deluge of inappropriateness.
Speaking to USA Today, Cantor’s lawyer commended her client.
“I think Jami Cantor is a very courageous woman, as all women coming forward in this #metoo movement,” Cantor’s lawyer told USA Today Sports. “All these women are courageous. These women have had the courage to step up knowing that, in the past at least, it would be a ‘he said, she said’ situation until we’ve had this national conversation.”
I think it really is courageous to step forward with these accounts, especially now. We’ve already seen how unwilling some are to believe the accusations, at least if they are against some favorite celebrity or politician. Stepping forward now could result in getting called a “liar,” and running the risk of someone setting about to ruin your life.
Then again, I can see how easily this could turn the other way, and unscrupulous players could twist the movement for their own purposes.
A good rule of thumb for everybody is to remember just how seriously these things are being taken, now, and not to get themselves in a position where they’d ever have to worry about being reported for anything like this.