More Than 40,000 People Sign Petition By Former Washington Football Team Cheerleaders

The Washington Football Team former cheerleaders, led by Melanie Coburn, have created a petition urging the NFL and The Washington Football Team to make Washington’s sexual misconduct investigation public. According to former cheerleader, Candess Correll, the cheerleaders, as the actual victims, have not yet seen the investigation report or the results. The NFL has not agreed to meet with the woman who worked for WFT and are demanding answers.

The petition started by Melanie Coburn pleads for the NFL and The Washington Football Team to “do the right thing for women!” and release Washington’s sexual misconduct investigation to the public. The petition also urges The Washington Football Team to reinstate the cheerleaders. The WFT cheerleading program, as part of the out of the court settlement with the franchise, was recently cancelled after 60 years. The petition now has over 40,600 signatures. The petition also calls for the NFL to hold Washington Owner Dan Snyder accountable for the alleged history of sexual harassment within his organization. The petition calls for the removal of Dan Snyder from the WFT franchise.  Their petition, can be found here.

The women of the WFT,  impacted by this scandal, just want more information released. The NFL had performed an extensive inquiry into the Washington Football Team, yet the only person that has been held accountable and lost their job has been Jon Gruden, who resigned on Monday.

According to multiple sources, if not for the New York Times Article which revealed former Raiders Coach Jon Gruden’s emails, it would not have been publicly known that the pictures of the cheerleaders were circulating around the NFL.

The emails which exposed, now former Oakland Raiders Head Coach, Jon Gruden’s racist, homophobic and misogynistic behavior, contained topless photos of former Washington Football Team cheerleaders. The alleged inappropriate pictures were reportedly being circulated around the league by coaches via email. According to the former cheerleaders, the emails, which were from a past swimsuit photo-shoot video, were passed around by Jon Gruden to former Washington Football Team general manager Bruce Allen. At the time of the alleged incident, Gruden was a broadcaster for ESPN and Bruce Allen had hired Jay Gruden, Jon’s brother, to be the coach of the team. The emails were dated from 2011 until 2018.

The 10-minute video which reportedly contains bare nipples and pubic areas of the cheerleaders while they were changing, was first reported by The Washington Post in 2010. At that time, some of the cheerleaders brought a lawsuit against the Washington Football Team franchise alleging a nonconsensual, uncensored video from a prior cheerleader shoot had been circulated to team executives. The lawsuit was settled out of court, but it led the NFL’s investigation into the franchise’s culture and workplace, which concluded in July. The result of the investigation was a $10 Million fine. The investigation was reopened this summer to look at the nearly 650,000 emails involved. It was during this review that the photos came to light. The release of the photographs has “traumatized” the former WFT cheerleaders and produced a feeling of horror to know that private intimate pictures of them were not just circulating around their franchise, but rather the entire NFL.

This is not the first time The Washington Football Team has been in the news for a controversy involving female employees. In 2020, 15 former female employees described their experiences of sexual harassment and verbal abuse coming from within the organization. The employees in the cheerleading scandal that were alleging workplace sexual harassment were met by lawyers representing WFT, trying to buy their silence.