Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin had to be repeatedly reminded by a makeup artist to “not touch” her, one of the many allegations made in the latest sexual harassment lawsuit filed over alleged misconduct at NFL Network.
Erin McParland claims she was “subjected to ongoing and continuing sexual harassment by current and former on-air talent and other employees” during her roughly two years at the network that started in 2014, according to the lawsuit obtained by USA TODAY Sports. The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday, also named former All-Pro defensive back Eric Davis, who allegedly would “rub his genitals” against McParland.
Davis was among several named in a lawsuit filed against NFL Enterprises — the Southern California outpost of the league that runs NFL Network — by former makeup artist Jami Cantor. Cantor alleged she was subjected to inappropriate touching, lewd text messages and other harassment during her decade at the network.
Marshall Faulk, Ike Taylor and Heath Evans were immediately suspended after the lawsuit was amended in December. Davis and Donovan McNabb were fired by their then-current employer, ESPN, after the allegations came to light.
An NFL Network spokesperson did not immediately offer comment when reached by USA TODAY Sports, including when asked about Irvin’s current role with the network. The lawsuit described Irvin as a “former on-air talent on NFL Network,” although he was still listed as an analyst for NFL GameDay Morning and as part of the Thursday Night Football pregame crew.
Matt McNicholas, one of McParland’s attorneys, told USA TODAY Sports that McParland endured many months of harassment before she first reported it to human resources. The lawsuit – which alleges she “sustained and will continue to sustain severe physical, mental and emotional injuries” – doesn’t specify the precise damages sought, but seeks “an amount sufficient to punish and make an example of (NFL Network).”
“She didn’t want to rock the boat,” McNicholas said in a phone interview. “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.”
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SOURCE: USA Today, A.J. Perez