July 25, 2018 / 9:57 AM / a year ago

Ex-NFL Network employee sues over alleged sexual harassment

Former NFL stars Eric Davis and Michael Irvin were accused of sexual harassment in a lawsuit filed by a former NFL Network makeup artist on Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

FILE PHOTO: The NFL logo is pictured at an event in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Erin McParland is suing NFL Enterprises (the league offshoot that operates NFL Network), Davis and other potential defendants, according to Pro Football Talk.

McParland maintains she was “subjected to ongoing and continuing sexual harassment by current and former on-air talent and other employees,” according to the suit.

“Davis (would) force his genitals against Plaintiff and he would also rub his genitals on Plaintiff’s leg,” according to the complaint. “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 suit also alleges, “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. 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.”

One of McParland’s lawyers, Matt McNicholas, told USA Today Sports that his client suffered through months of sexual harassment before finally going to human resources.

“She didn’t want to rock the boat,” McNicholas said. “There was an overall environment — which I guess isn’t hard to imagine when you’re dealing with former high-octane athletes — that was what you might see in a locker room or a fraternity.”

The allegations follow a lawsuit filed in December by another former NFL Network makeup artist, Jami Cantor. She accused numerous former co-workers of sexual harassment, and NFL Network suspended Marshall Faulk, Ike Taylor and Heath Evans as a result. Donovan McNabb and Davis were suspended by their then-employer, ESPN, after Cantor accused them of harassing her while they were at NFL Network.

While McParland’s suit calls Irvin a former NFL Network employee, he was still listed as part of the network’s talent as of Tuesday, according to USA Today Sports.

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