HOF Marshall Falk suspended; top executive resigns as scandal at network deepens
By Steve Montgomery
The fallout from a sexual harassment lawsuit by a former employee of the NFL Network has led to the suspension of three high-profile former NFL players now working for the network as analysts, including Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk.
The sports-oriented cable and satellite television network, which is based in Culver City on Washington Place, suspended Faulk, Ike Taylor and Heath Evans for allegedly groping and making sexually charged comments to Jami Cantor, a former NFL Network wardrobe stylist.
On Dec. 12, sports reporter Lindsay McCormick posted on Instagram that an unnamed network executive asked her if she planned on getting “knocked up” during an interview with the network.
I’ve been quiet about this for too long,” McCormick wrote. “In my last interview with NFL Network a few years ago, the head of hiring talent said to me, ‘If we hire you, do you plan on getting knocked up immediately like the rest of them?”
McCormick went on to say she interpreted “them” as other women “who work their tails off to be taken seriously in a man’s world.”
“Because while I don’t plan on ‘getting knocked up,’ I do plan on being like the rest of those brilliant women that our future daughters will one day look up to and see you can have it all,” she wrote.
McCormick worked with Faulk at a Super Bowl sponsor SAP event last year.
The growing public relations nightmare for the spots networks also claimed NFL Network chief David Eaton, who resigned on Dec. 21 after the New York Times reported a number of Eaton’s sexually explicit conversations on Twitter with accounts that belong to adult film actresses, prostitutes and paid escorts.
“Last night David Eaton tendered his resignation from NFL Media effective immediately” said NFL Network spokesman Alex Riethmiller in a statement.
Cantor filed a legal action against her former employer in October.
Also named in the suit is Eric Weinberg, a former NFL Network executive who, according to Cantor’s lawsuit, reportedly sent nude photos of himself and “sexually explicit texts” to Cantor. The lawsuit claims he asked Cantor to touch his crotch and told her “she was put on this earth to please him.”
Calls to the NF Network office, which is owned by NFL Enterprises, for comment were not returned.
Faulk played for 12 seasons in the National Football League. As the second player chosen in the 1994 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts, Faulk was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. After being traded to the St. Louis Rams in 1998, Faulk led the team to a Super Bowl XXXIV victory that same year and was named the NFL Offensive Player of the Year.
In 2000, he was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player.
He retired after the 2005 season with more than a dozen NFL records. Prior to his suspension, Faulk was working as an analyst at the NFL Network, which hired him in 2012.
In court papers, Cantor, who says the network fired her for allegedly stealing clothes from her fellow employees, said she complained to her supervisors and the NFL Network’s Human Resources Dept. that she was not given a budget or resources “to build a wardrobe for the talent (on air personnel), she was using her own credit card for loaned and purchased clothes, she was not being reimbursed for the wardrobe she paid for using her own money she was forced to work off the clock without pay and was never given meal or rest breaks.”
Clothes that the on-air personnel damaged were charged to Cantor’s credit card, the lawsuit states.
“Throughout plaintiff’s employment at NFL, plaintiff was subjected to ongoing and continued sexual harassment by employees of NFL Network. They would pinpoint to her butt, breasts, point to their private parts in front of her, make comments like, ‘I can’t handle your ass, it is so luscious,’ and send her pictures while in their underwear, the shower or naked,” the legal complaint states.
Laura Horton, an employment and labor attorney who is representing Cantor, said the conduct her client is accusing Faulk, Weinberg and the others of is systemic in the entertainment industry. “I’m not surprised to hear about this type of behavior at all,” Horton said.
Evans is a former fullback who played six seasons with the New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins. He won a Super Bowl with the Saints in 2009.
Taylor played 12 years in the NFL, all with the Pittsburg Steelers and won two Super Bowls with them. He retired in 2015.
Cantor, who is requesting a jury trial, is seeking unpaid wages, premiums and/or penalties “resulting from defendants’ unfair business practices pursuant to Business and Professional Codes nos. 17200-17205.”