An ex-NFL cheerleader has revealed that she was discriminated against for talking openly about her Christian faith, including her decision to remain abstinent.
Though this world creates pressures and impossible standards that can make you doubt yourself, set your eyes on everything above. Consider it a pure blessing when you don't "fit in" and when people oppress you. Stand firm and remember God created you for a unique reason so you can make a unique difference. #faithinaction #activefaithsports
Kristan Ann Ware, who cheered for the Miami Dolphins for three years, detailed in a complaint filed with the Florida Commission on Human Relations that her colleagues became hostile after she told some of her fellow cheerleaders that she did not want to have sex until she was married.
Things got a whole lot worse after Ware posted a picture of her baptism, accompanied by a verse from scripture. When she attended an interview with cheerleader director Dorie Grogan, Ware was quizzed about her virginity: “Let’s talk about your virginity,” Grogan said to her during the 2016 meeting. “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.”
Ware is outraged that her deeply-held beliefs and values were criticized in such an open manner. She is taking her case to the Florida Commission and seeking after a meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Ware is insisted that female cheerleaders should be allowed to express their faith publicly the way the male players do. And she’s absolutely right.
For the past three years my view of the super bowl has been alongside our courageous men and women in the military. • In the darkest hour of the morning, seeing their faces light up to watch a sport they love is a memory that will never grow far from me. • For them, it was a reminder of community, family and friends. It was something to look forward to. …It was hope. It gave them an opportunity to think upon that of which is good…home. • Within those few hours of distraction, I was there…just embracing all their smiles while my heart was overflowing. I would just sit in awe of them. To some, all they see is a uniform. For me, I see hearts. I see sacrifice. I see families back home. I see love. I see the thankful breath they breathe because of what their eyes can never unsee. • I thought about how selfless and brave they are. I thought, "how can I be so blessed to be in BFE (literally) sharing laughs with them." How incredibly special it was for me to see them with an uplifted spirit and smiles of joy that would hold them until tomorrow. • You wouldn't be human if who they are didn't move you. …It moves me. It moves me from deep within. Shoveling and rearranging priorities in this precious life. Forcing me to remember all that's truly important and holds value. It moves me outwardly too. It intertwines my heart and eyes to become connected and aligned, in the form of tears. And for that… I won't hide. I won't look away. I won't be ashamed. I wont be ashamed of crying tears of love and gratefulness. I won't be ashamed of crying tears of compassion and empathy. I won't be ashamed of crying tears over new friendships that were then quickly gone. I won't be ashamed of crying tears before the eyes of those who I look to as heroes. I won't be ashamed for all the tears I've cried out to God praying for our military. • I value those who I have met, yet to meet and hold close all the friends I have made over these years. You are remembered and always loved! • These past three years hold the upmost honor and gratitude. To our military, home or away, we love you and even though you never signed up for a thank you…. I humbly thank you with all of my heart.❤️
“I loved my job,” Ware said an interview with NBC affiliate WFLA Thursday. “It was great, but after that things just started to change. …It became unbearable.” A source at the Dolphins said that they were aware of the incident with Ware, and indicated that Grogan had already been disciplined for her unprofessionalism. Clearly, she has not been let go over the incident. A quick glance at the Dolphin’s cheerleading staff page lists Grogan in the very top position as Director of Entertainment and Brand Impact.
“In 2016, we were made aware of an incident with our cheerleaders that fell short of our standards and expectations,” the source stated, according to NBC News. “We immediately addressed the issue and reprimanded the supervisor, who subsequently apologized to the entire team.”
The NFL has remained rather quiet on the matter, issuing somewhat of a generic statement about fair employment.
“The NFL and all NFL member clubs support fair employment practices,” the organization said in a statement. “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.”
Ware’s lawyer, Sara Blackwell, stated that the cheerleader never sought to actively evangelize her collegues, and only spoke of her virginity when she was asked directly. “She never once witnessed to anyone, she never once asked anyone if they believed in Jesus,” Blackwell explained NBC News. “She is the friendliest person you will ever meet. If she talked about her faith in God, it’s because that’s who she is, not because she is trying to convert anyone.”
When Kristen was on a trip to London with her team, her fellow cheerleaders began to discuss their “sex playlist.” That’s when Ware was directly questioned about her sex life.
“Kristin told her teammates that she was waiting until she was married because of her personal relationship with God,” the complaint states. “She was sensitive to everyone around her having different beliefs and ideals so she further stated that it was her personal conviction.”
Ware explained how she was met with constant ridicule from Grogan after news spread of her views toward sex. But the persecution didn’t end there. Ware also alleges that when she wrote a “Motivation Monday” story for the Dolphins’ blog describing her experience during a cheerleader audition, her references to God and Christ were edited out.
“I am not against them. I just want to make it a better place for the cheerleaders,” Ware told the BBC of her complaint to the Florida Commission on Human Relations.
“We are seriously committed to providing a positive work environment for everyone associated with the organisation,” the Miami Dolphins told the BBC in a statement. “We hold every member of our organisation to the same standards and do not discriminate as it relates to gender, race and religious beliefs.”
We will keep you posted on the case as it progresses.