A former wardrobe stylist at the NFL Network has accused several retired NFL players and a network executive of sexual misconduct in an amended lawsuit filed in court December 11.
Jami L. Cantor accused Eric Weinberger, who currently works as the president of The Ringer, of trying to sexually assault her on at least one occasion and sending sexually-explicit photos to her. She also accused on-air talent — Marshall Faulk, Eric Davis, Warren Sapp, Donovan McNabb, Heath Evans and Ike Taylor — and at least one other employee at NFL Network of acting inappropriately in the workplace by sexually harassing and assaulting her on several occasions.
Cantor was hired at NFL Network in 2006, but was fired after a decade of working there when she was accused of stealing clothes. A makeup artist at NFL Network, Erin McParland, says that Cantor warned her she might be targeted when she started working there. McParland is accusing Davis and Michael Irvin of inappropriate behavior with her. On January 5, ESPN announced that it had “cut ties with Donovan McNabb and Eric Davis following a monthlong investigation into allegations of sexual harassment at another network.”
On August 8, 2018, Heath Evans posted a series of tweets alleging he was falsely accused. The NFL Network responded by saying he was terminated for his own “misconduct.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Cantor Accuses Multiple Retired NFL Players of Sexually Harassing & Assaulting Her
Cantor was hired in 2006 and worked at the NFL Network’s studio in Culver City, California. Part of her job duties included building a closet full of clothes that on-air talent wore during shows on the network, her lawsuit said. She filed an amended complaint in Los Angeles Superior County on December 11 against several former NFL players, the president of a sports media group and NFL Enterprises, as first reported by Bloomberg.
During the time that Cantor worked as a wardrobe stylist at the network, Weinberger sent her “several nude pictures of himself and sexually explicit texts,” she said in her lawsuit. Cantor also accused Weinberger of telling her that she “was put on earth to pleasure (him),” adding that he once pressed his crotch against her shoulder and asked her to touch it.
The amended lawsuit, obtained by Deadspin, goes into far greater detail on the sexual misconduct allegations.
Cantor alleges that Faulk, the former running back for the St. Louis Rams, asked her “deeply personal and invasive questions” about her sex life on numerous occasions. She claims that Faulk asked her what her favorite sex position was, whether she was into oral sex and if she dated black men. She also accused Faulk in the lawsuit of fondling her breasts and groping her butt.
“Instead of saying good morning, Mr. Faulk greeted (Cantor) by fondling her breasts and groping her behind,” the lawsuit said. “As time went on, Mr. Faulk became more aggressive, such as inviting (Cantor) to his hotel room, stroking and pulling out his genitals in front of her, pointing to his crotch and asking Plaintiff, ‘when are you gonna get on this already?'” the lawsuit said. “He also pinned (Cantor) against a wall, demanding oral sex while he pulled his pants down.”
In the amended lawsuit, Evans, who played fullback for the New England Patriots, is accused of propositioning Cantor multiple times for sex and “repeatedly making lewd overtures.” Cantor said that Evans sent nude photos of himself to her “on at least two separate occasions.” She said in her lawsuit that Evans made several comments to her, including him saying that he “needed to get in (Cantor) deep and hard.”
Davis, a former cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers, is accused of coming into Cantor’s office asking for help with his clothes “so he could grab and push/rub his body” against Cantor, the lawsuit said. She said that Davis said various other sexually-explicit comments, including things like: “I want you so bad,” “my cock is so hard because of you right now” and “you look like you would be an animal in the sheets.”
“I can’t handle your (butt), it is so luscious,” Cantor claimed that a text message sent to her from Davis said.
Cantor said that on at least one occasion, Davis said that he wanted to “choke” her from behind until she “begged him to stop.” Things continued to escalate between Davis and Cantor, according to the suit. Cantor claims that one time while she was working on the set in the studio on a ladder, he grabbed her butt, sliding his hand in between her legs and touching her private area.
Taylor, who played cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, is accused in the lawsuit of sending Cantor sexually explicit photos of himself and a video of him masturbating in the shower.
McNabb, who most notably played quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, is accused in the suit of texting her explicit comments. Those include him allegedly asking her if she “was a squirter” and asking her to “CUM to dinner with him,” among other things.
Sapp, who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was fired from the network for soliciting a prostitute in 2015, is accused of coming into the bathroom as Cantor was preparing a wardrobe and urinating in front of her despite her telling him to get out. According to the lawsuit, Sapp replied to Cantor: “Sorry mama, but your office shouldn’t be our shitter.”
Cantor also said that Sapp gifted her sex toys as Christmas gifts three-straight years and showed her nude images of women he’d slept with.
NFL Network’s talent coordinator Marc Watts is also named in the lawsuit as making sexually inappropriate comments about Cantor’s body and asking questions about her sex life. It claims that Cantor came forward to Watts with her complaints, but he didn’t do anything to resolve them.
“How many of these guys (talent) hit on you?” she claims he asked her. “I bet they all want to sleep with you. It’s part of the job when you look the way you do.”
Read about McParland’s accusations here:
2. Cantor Is Also Seeking Damages for Unjustly Being Fired From the Network After She Was Accused of Stealing Clothes
Cantor originally filed a wrongful termination lawsuit for an unspecified amount against NFL Network in October. She claimed that she was discriminated against while working there because of her sex/gender/age, in addition to being sexually harassed, thus creating a “hostile work environment.”
“They would touch her butt, breasts, point to their private parts in front of her,” the lawsuit said.
Read the original lawsuit in the court document above.
The lawsuit further alleges that the network failed to reimburse her for purchases she made on her personal credit card for clothes intended for employees at the network who she was assigned to dress. There was no wardrobe budget for the clothes she was supposed to purchase, which meant oftentimes she “had to use her own clothes” or “set up studio accounts with department stores using her own credit card to buy clothes for the talent.” She accused the network of often forcing her to work off the clock without pay, never given a meal and rest breaks.
Additionally, Cantor is seeking damages for her bosses’ failure to do anything regarding her concerns.
“Nothing was done in response to plaintiff’s complaints,” Cantor’s lawsuit alleges. “Instead, NFL made it more difficult for plaintiff to do her job by increasing her work load and cutting her hours.”
Cantor was fired from the network in October 2016 after she was accused of stealing clothing from another employee, although a video inside the studio shows that she took nothing, she said in her suit.
“If they would have looked at the video they would have seen that (Cantor) did not steal any clothes,” the lawsuit said. “Instead, NFL (Network) continues to use (Cantor’s) personal wardrobe items to dress their talent.”
3. Faulk, Taylor & Evans Have Been Suspended Pending an Investigation Into Cantor’s Allegations
A majority of those mentioned in the lawsuit didn’t return a request from Bloomberg for comment in the story about the lawsuit, but NFL Network spokesman Alex Riethmiller said that Faulk, Taylor and Evans have now been suspended from their duties as a full investigation into Cantor’s allegations has been launched by the network. An ESPN spokesman also said that McNabb and Davis will not make further appearances on the network.
In response to the allegations against Weinberger, a Ringer spokesman released a statement saying that he’s on leave “indefinitely” as an internal investigation is conducted.
Cantor’s lawsuit against the former NFL players and network comes at a time when numerous sexual misconduct allegations against prominent figures have been made public. It started with dozens of women accusing Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexually harassing and assaulting them, which spurred the creation of the #MeToo hashtag. Since then, swarms of allegations have surfaced against many prominent people in Hollywood, media, politics, sports and more.
TIME Magazine named “The Silence Breakers,” those who broke their silence in their allegations against the prominent men, as its 2017 Person of the Year.
4. Cantor Once Worked at a Mall as a Personal Shopper
A December 1996 article in The Los Angeles Times said that Cantor once worked as a personal shopper at The Oaks Shopping Center in Thousand Oaks, California. She typically worked at the mall two days per week, the story said, but the Christmas season was a lot more hectic and became a “second home” for her despite having to perform her motherly duties with her three children.
The Times followed Cantor around the mall as she seamlessly navigated her way through stores in search of several items on customers’ Christmas lists. She received high praises from her clients, The Times article noted.
“I’ve already referred (Cantor) to two people,” real estate broker Francine Penich told the newspaper.
5. Cantor Also Worked as an Art Gallery Manager in Los Angeles
Before working at the mall, Cantor graduated from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles and worked as an interior designer for several homes and offices. After that, she worked as the manager of an art gallery in Beverly Hills during the early 1990s, and that’s when her interest in being a personal shopper was piqued. She told The Times that she’d get compliments from people on her wardrobe, and they’d often ask her where she purchased her clothing from.
Cantor is a native of Westlake Village and attended White Oak Elementary School, The Times story said. She has three children, Zach, Karli and Brandy. Her daughter Karli, according to her social media accounts, at one point worked as a video editor for NFL Network.