A group of NFL cheerleaders have demanded that the league releases the findings of a probe into workplace culture at the Washington Football Team after figures were accused of leaking secretly-shot nude photographs.
Jon Gruden, who resigned this week from his position as head coach at the Las Vegas Raiders this week after it was discovered that several of his historical emails contained racist and homophobic language, has been implicated in the scandal for supposedly distributing naked photographs of cheerleaders to then-Washington general manager Bruce Allen, according to the New York Times.
The emails are understood to have been sent while Gruden was working as a high profile analyst for ESPN before he inked a 10-year, $100m deal with the Las Vegas Raiders in 2018.
Gruden announced in a statement via the Raiders social media channels that he was stepping down from his position following the reports.
"I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone."
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) October 12, 2021
“I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders,” he wrote. “I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had ordered an investigation into the workplace culture at the Washington Football Team, the team formerly known as the ‘Redskins’, where it was noted that emails sent by Gruden had contained the offensive language.
The team was subsequently slapped with a $10 million fine, with the emails said to have been “appalling, abhorrent and wholly contrary” to the league’s values.
However, the report was not released publicly or to the women who had called for it – with former cheerleaders understood to have been taken aback by the content of the emails.
Washington Football Team cheerleader Melanie Coburn said that the investigations shows the scale of the “exploitation and violation of these cheerleaders” have been subjected to.
Coburn added that many of the cheerleaders had been asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement as part of a settlement deal, and also revealed that she has set up an online petition to demand the probe’s full release, which has garnered more than 40,000 signatures so far.
“The NFL must do the right thing and make the sexual misconduct investigation of the WFT public and hold Dan Snyder – owner of the Washington Football Team – accountable for the history of serial sexual harassment within his organisation,” reads the petition.
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“They’re now coming out wondering, ‘What the hell, it’s more than just these two videos,’ Coburn added via The Daily Beast.
“I can only imagine how they feel, and they have no voice.”
Another former cheerleader, Lacy Thibodeaux-Fields, also stated that the emails lay bare the NFL’s “misogynistic, racist and very sexist culture“.
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