Kristan Ann Ware cheered for the Miami Dolphins for three seasons until 2017.
According to USA Today, she recently filed a lawsuit against the Dolphins and the NFL with the Florida Commission on Human Relations "alleging that she faced discrimination and retaliation because of her religion and gender, and that she was told by two coaches in an annual work review not to discuss her virginity."
The complaint also alleges that "the team brought her severe emotional and physical distress in her last year and that NFL players are held to different standards regarding social media and expression of faith."
Hostility towards Ware began when other cheerleaders first learned that she wouldn't have sex "until she was married."
Per NBC News,
Ware’s secret spilled out in October 2015 while on a bus ride in London, where the Dolphins were playing the New York Jets at Wembley Stadium. The other dancers were talking about their “sex playlist” and Ware “was pushed to give her playlist.
“Kristan 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.”
Then, in 2016, tensions escalated after she shared a photo of her baptism on social media.
Per USA Today,
[Ware] claimed that Dolphins cheerleading director Dorie Grogan told her of her virginity: "You have taken something that was once upon a time pure and beautiful and you’ve made it dirty."
Ware claims that the team's choreographer, Brooke Nix, then told her, "it is still beautiful, but you need to stop talking about it."
Grogan, who still cheers for the Dolphins, was reportedly reprimanded and issued an apology to the team.
The Dolphins responded to Ware's claims in in a statement:
"We hold every member of our organization to the same standards and do not discriminate as it relates to gender, race and religious beliefs."
Ware's lawyer, Sara Blackwell, recently filed a similar lawsuit on behalf of ex-New Orleans Saints cheerleader Bailey Davis. Blackwell defended Ware in a statement to NBC.
“She never once witnessed to anyone, she never once asked anyone if they believed in Jesus,” Blackwell told 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.”
If more discrimination complaints of this nature are filed, the NFL may need to more strictly enforce policies that protect cheerleaders.