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NFL Lawsuit Claims Racism, Sexism, Retaliation

  • A former NFL employee alleges racism, sexism, and retaliation in league offices.
  • The league denied the charges.
An NFL Films camera operator.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
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The NFL and its main production arm, NFL Films, are facing a lawsuit that makes uncomfortable claims about its workplace culture and media practices. 

The suit was brought by former temporary human resources worker Victoria Russell, who alleges instances of workplace racism and sexism. 

Russell worked as a senior human resources coordinator with the NFL from October 2018 to April 2022, according to her LinkedIn profile, and was an assistant at NFL Films for nine months prior.

Russell, a Black woman, alleged that she was denied raises, certain advancement opportunities, and dedicated workspaces that white and male employees had. She also said that the NFL retaliated by firing her after she complained to the league’s chief diversity officer.

She said that the firing came six months after a promotion, which she says was delayed, and without any prior performance warnings.

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She also said that NFL Films tagged lewd content of cheerleaders and female audience members with descriptions such as “cheerleaders rear end,” and “naughty camera work.”

The NFL has denied Russell’s claims. Sources familiar with the league’s thinking told the Wall Street Journal that her contract was not renewed due to her lack of productivity.

With regard to her claims about NFL Films, league spokesperson Brian McCarthy said that it is common practice for images to be marked as “sensitive” so that they won’t be used in future content, and that some of Russell’s descriptions were inaccurate.

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