SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - A Sarasota attorney is now representing a second former NFL cheerleader with a legal complaint. A former Miami Dolphins cheerleader is now accusing her former team and the league of gender and religious discrimination.
"I love the Lord and that's just what I live for," smiled former Miami Dolphins cheerleader Kristan Ann Ware.
Ware spent three years as a Miami Dolphins cheerleader but chose not to audition for a fourth, fearing what she calls continued religious discrimination.
"I could be one person outside of the walls but in the walls I had to be off," explained Ware. "I had to be someone who I wasn't."
Nearly one year after her departure from the team, Ware has filed a complaint with the Florida Commission of Human Relations against the Miami Dolphins and the NFL for both religious and gender discrimination, and retaliation.
According to the complaint, she was a victim of bullying after the team's director confronted ware about her virginity.
"The director told her that she made something pure and beautiful into something dirty," said Ware's attorney, Sara Blackwell.
"I was told that I was not allowed to talk about it to anyone at anytime, that my virginity was not ever to be spoke about," said Ware.
The complaint states dolphins' football players can express their faith on social media and on the field, but Ware could not mention Jesus on Instagram posts. She felt her faith made her an outsider after phrases about God were removed from one of her blog posts.
"The way that I was being treated, they made me choose: do you want to be a cheerleader, or do you want to follow God?" explained Ware.
The Miami Dolphins released a statement to ABC7, reading: "We are seriously committed to providing a positive work environment for everyone associated with the organization. We hold every member of our organization to the same standards and do not discriminate as it relates to gender, race and religious beliefs."
Now ware is requesting a hearing with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell hoping to let the league know how cheerleaders are being treated behind closed doors.
"Maybe they don't know," suggested Blackwell. "Maybe they already know, but it wouldn't cost them anything to make fair and reasonable rules for the cheerleading teams."
By filing the complaint, Ware wants other women to express themselves without feeling like they will lose their jobs.
"Even if that meant laying down my uniform, something that I loved, my favorite job, following God and being obedient to Him meant more," smiled Ware.
The complaint comes two weeks after a former New Orleans Saints cheerleader, now living in Sarasota, filed a complaint against the NFL and the team. Both women are requesting arbitration against their former teams and the NFL. That's in lieu of a lawsuit, since both signed an arbitration agreement.
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