Exclusive: Former Washington Football Team Cheerleader & Employee Plan Protest Outside FedExField, Before Monday Night Game Against Seahawks
Former Washington Football Team cheerleader Melanie Coburn, who has been an outspoken critic of team owner Dan Snyder, is planning a protest outside of FedExField tomorrow night, during the Monday night matchup between the team and the Seattle Seahawks.
According to Coburn, the protest will be to demand the release of the results of the investigation into the Washington Football Team’s hostile workplace.
“All we want is transparency and accountability,” Coburn wrote. “Isn’t that what it takes to actually Inspire Change? Please join us Monday before the game at FedExField as we protest the NFL to Release the Report.”
Coburn and former Washington Football Team video department employee Megan Imbert will be in attendance at the team’s stadium with several former team employees, supporters, fans and family members in the Redzone before the game begins starting around 5pm Eastern.
“We will continue to push for transparency and accountability until the NFL shares the Beth Wilkinson report,” Coburn tells League of Justice.
“We are once again coming together to demand the transparency and accountability that we, those who experienced sexual harassment at the WFT, and the public, reasonably expect from a complete investigation that included more than 120 people,” wrote Coburn and Imbert. The duo sent a letter recently to the NFL’s Social Justice Working Group asking it to stop ignoring the League’s “irresponsible lack of transparency and act on the values they say they stand for, like accountability.”
Monday’s NFL game will be held as part of the NFL’s Inspire Change initiative, and Coburn and Imbert say they “hope the League will listen to the community and the fans who deserve to see the full report.”
“We are protesting the NFL’s gross mishandling of the Washington Football culture investigation,” said Imbert. “We came forward at great personal risk and as a result have been victim blamed, ignored & used as pawns in the NFLs coverup of the findings. Without transparency there isn’t accountability. The 150 participants of the investigations and NFL fans deserve the truth… The NFL is one of the most prominent workplaces, one that has influence over society & young people. We want to ensure future generations working within these franchises are able to do so free from bullying and harassment while embracing diversity, equity and inclusion.”
“The “Inspire Change” game is a step in the right direction by the Social Justice Committee, but they still haven’t responded to our letter pleading for the release of the report,” said Coburn, referring to the NFL’s initiative to showcase how players and teams are working to create progress in police relations, criminal justice reform, and economic advancement.
“We’re also continuing to cooperate with Congress and are encouraged by the Oversight Committee’s interest in this important matter,” said Coburn, referencing Congress’s recent request that the League hand over the findings of its investigation into the WFT to a Congressional Committee.
“This is bigger than the WFT and the NFL, and it’s time the most prominent workplace in the country is held accountable. That will be the only way for real progress to be achieved,” Coburn told League of Justice. “We look forward to speaking with the fans Monday evening at FedExField! Lookout for us in the Redzone lot from 5pm to kickoff!”
Coburn and Imbert spoke up recently to League of Justice about the alleged “good bits” videos they say were created for Dan Snyder, which reportedly included nude images of cheerleaders filmed without their consent. The women said they would like to see a criminal investigation into the videos, which were allegedly secretly taped by WFT video department employees during a photo shoot while the cheerleaders were changing their clothes.
The women believe the videos were distributed to several people within the organization and images were allegedly found in former Raiders Coach Jon Gruden’s emails. Imbert recalls seeing images in an edit bay, while working for WFT, that tipped her off to something suspicious occurring and says her fears were confirmed when another video department employee came forward along with an anonymous source to the New York Times and The Washington Post to discuss the alleged nude videos.
Talk of the alleged pornographic videos, which have not been released publicly, is just one scandal engulfing the embattled team and its owner following an NFL investigation into a culture of sexual harassment and hostility towards women.
The team was fined $10 million dollars but the results of the investigation were not made public. The secrecy surrounding the investigation has continued to haunt the team and league as public pressure mounts over questions of what was going on inside the organization and who knew what.
The few documents related to the investigation that have been made public, include several racist and offensive emails sent by former Raiders Coach Jon Gruden to former Washington Football Team President Bruce Allen, when Gruden worked for ESPN.
The leaked emails led to Gruden’s resignation and now Gruden is suing the NFL and Roger Goodell, alleging that the league conspired to bring him down. Gruden claims the NFL’s aim was to distract the public from its alleged botched handling of the Washington Football Team Investigation by making him the fall guy.
Meanwhile, an internal investigation into the Washington Team, by a private law firm, indicated that more than 650,000 emails were reviewed. There has been widespread pressure on the league to release those emails as well. Normally, the league publicly shares a report of its findings in large-scale investigations but oddly it did not after it completed its investigation into WFT’s workplace.
As we wrote recently, the Gruden lawsuit could force the league to surrender the 650,000 emails that it has so far managed to keep confidential.
Coburn and Imbert, who have emerged as spokeswomen for the cheerleading squad, say they are speaking up because other cheerleaders who signed non-disclosure agreements as part of a confidential settlement related to the alleged “good bits” videos cannot come forward.
Coburn started a petition demanding the league release its findings from the WFT investigation. The petition was signed by more than 40,000 people. Congress has also joined the call, requesting the league hand over the emails, investigation results and all other pertinent documents.
The league recently claimed that many of the documents from the investigation contain privileged information. Congress may have to issue subpoenas to compel their production.
The NFL has vowed to vigorously defend itself against the Gruden lawsuit and to protect the confidentiality of the privileged emails, while at the same time saying it will cooperate with Congress to the extent possible.
The game tomorrow in Washington starts at 8:15pm ET. LOJ Founder Amy Dash spoke with Imbert & Coburn a few weeks ago about the alleged nude cheerleader videos. Watch the interview below.