NFL Network Asks Employees Not To Discuss Sexual Harassment Allegations
NFL Network yesterday sent employees an email "asking them not to comment" on the sexual harassment allegations against several analysts with "anyone in the media," according to sources cited by Kevin Draper of the N.Y. TIMES. The NFL also is "considering hiring an outside counsel to conduct an independent investigation, as Fox News did last year to investigate allegations of sexual harassment by the longtime network chief Roger Ailes." The lawsuit and suspensions are the "latest in a wave of sexual harassment scandals," though they are "not the first accusations to hit the sports world." Fox Sports fired National Networks President Jamie Horowitz after claims of sexual misconduct in July, Rogers Communications fired Blue Jays analyst Gregg Zaun in November after inappropriate behavior and Seahawks radio announcer and Pro Football HOFer Warren Moon last week was "accused of harassment." The allegations are the "latest in a string of bad news for the NFL" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/13). SI.com's Conor Orr wrote it was "only a matter of time before this movement, which has swept its way through Hollywood, politics and the television news business, began to dig into the sports world." While it is "unfair and inappropriate to predict further fallout in this case," Jami Cantor -- the former NFL Network wardrobe stylist who came forward with the allegations -- may have "opened the door to some significant revelations down the road" (SI.com, 12/12).
ANOTHER ALLEGATION AGAINST NFL NET: USA TODAY's A.J. Perez notes TV sports reporter and host Lindsay McCormick took to Instagram yesterday and wrote that an NFL Network exec asked if she would “plan on getting knocked up” if she was hired. McCormick: "In my last interview with NFL Network a few years ago, the head of hiring talent said to me, 'If we hire you, do you plan on getting knocked up immediately like the rest of them?'" McCormick "didn’t identify the NFL Network manager who made the comment or when the interview was conducted" (USATODAY.com, 12/13).
FURTHER REVIEW: ESPN's Donovan McNabb was among those listed in Cantor's complaint, and his alma mater Syracuse released a statement yesterday in response. The school stated, "We will follow this litigation closely. There is no place for sexual harassment in the Syracuse University community." McNabb is a current member of the Syracuse BOT and is "designated a 'life trustee' as opposed to a 'voting trustee.'" He has "donated money to multiple projects related to the SU football program, including for its weight room and for lockers" (SYRACUSE.com, 12/12).