Last year, former NFL Network employee Jami Cantor filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the league-owned broadcasting operation, resulting in the suspension of three on-air analysts. Another former NFL Network employee recently has filed a similar civl action.
Erin McParland, who previously told her story to Tim Rohan of SI.com, filed a lawsuit on July 24 in Los Angeles County Superior Court against NFL Enterprises, Eric Davis, and various unknown (for now) potential defendants.
In the lawsuit, McParland alleges generally that she was “subjected to ongoing and continuing sexual harassment by current and former on-air talent and other employees of NFL.” She specifically contends that Davis made unwanted advances in person and via Instagram messaging, including unwelcome physical contact.
“Davis during these encounters would also force his genitals against Plaintiff and he would also rub his genitals on Plaintiff’s leg,” the complaint alleges at paragraph 12(b). “Davis also groped Plaintiff’s rear extremities with both hands including a specific instance where Davis grabbed Plaintiff’s buttocks and inserted his fingers up into the area between Plaintiff’s buttocks on either side. These contacts were against Plaintiff’s clearly stated wishes for . . . Davis to keep his ‘hands off’ her.”
The complaint makes specific allegations against only one other employee: Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin.
“On the set of Defendant NFL’s television show ‘GameDay,’ former on-air talent on NFL Network, Michael Irvin, made inappropriate gestures and comments to Plaintiff,” the complaint alleges at paragraph 12(c). “Irvin once grabbed Plaintiff’s waist against Plaintiff’s wishes while Plaintiff was ‘powdering [Irvin] on set during a commercial break’ in front of other staff members and network personnel, ‘[m]ortifying’ Plaintiff. Plaintiff went out of her way to avoid Irvin after this exchange and reminded Irvin to ‘not touch’ Plaintiff every time Plaintiff was forced by Defendant to interact with Irvin.” (Curiously, the complaint refers to Irvin as “former on-air talent” at NFLN, implying that he no longer works for the league-owned network.)
McParland alleges that she complained to NFL Network about both Davis and Irvin, and that the NFL only took action against Davis after another employee complained about him. McParland contends that the league never took action against Irvin in response to her complaints.
The lawsuit makes claims of negligence, assault, battery, false imprisonment (arising from Davis allegedly confronting McParland about her complaints against him), harassment, and gender discrimination. McParland seeks a wide variety of compensatory damages, along with punitive damages.
In response to the claims made in 2017 by Cantor, NFLN immediately suspended Heath Evans, Marshall Faulk, and Ike Taylor. Davis previously had left his job at NFLN; after Cantor’s lawsuit was filed, ESPN Radio parted ways with him. ESPN also severed ties with Donovan McNabb in the aftermath of the Cantor filing, and former NFLN executive Eric Weinberger left his employment with the Bill Simmons Media Group.