INDIANAPOLIS (CN) – A cheerleader claims the Indianapolis Colts fired her because of her race and gender, after claiming she had appeared in “painted pictures” which the team did not show her, and which were never published or offered for sale. Her federal complaint contains a long list of “morals” offenses for which players were not disciplined.
Malori Wampler, who is Indonesian, seeks lost wages and punitive damages for racial and sexual discrimination.
Wampler says the Colts hired her on May 6, 2010. Before she was hired, she says, she told the Colts “that she had been affiliated with the Playboy organization.”
“Wampler told the Colts that she did not pose nude for Playboy, but had attended a Playboy Mansion party and helped host golf outings.”
She says cheerleading coordinator Theresa Pottratz told her that she had to discuss this with two higher-ups, senior vice president of sales and marketing Tom Zupancic and senior director of marketing Chuck O’Hara.
“Pottratz told Wampler that she met with Zupancic and O’Hara regarding her prior Playboy affiliation and that it was not an issue,” the complaint states.
At Pottratz’s suggestion, though, Wampler says she contacted Playboy and asked it to remove a photo of her from its website. Playboy did so. No other photos of her remained on the Playboy website, she says.
She says her “Cheerleader Agreement” contains a “‘morals’ or conduct clause,” similar to one the football players sign. It includes: “Cheerleader agrees not to commit any act that will or may create notoriety (including posing nude or semi-nude in or for any media or publication whatsoever), bring cheerleader into public disrepute, or reflect adversely on [the] club or its sponsors.” (Brackets and parentheses in complaint.)”
Wampler says that on Nov. 15, 2010, she was summoned to a meeting with Pottratz, Zupancic and O’Hara.
“Zupancic rushed in, sat down, and told Wampler that a fan mailed in ‘painted pictures’ of her and the Colts did not want to be ‘affiliated with the situation.’ Zupancic then terminated Wampler, stood up, and left the conference room,” the complaint states.
“No one at the meeting showed Wampler the photographs. … Wampler did not see the photographs until the EEOC investigation. The photographs of Wampler were taken prior to her being hired by the Colts. Wampler’s name was not associated in any way with the photographs, the photographs were not contained in any publication, and the photographs were not for sale,” the complaint states.
Wampler adds: “Similarly situated male Colts football players have acted in ways that created notoriety, brought the male football players into public disrepute, or reflected on the Colts or its sponsors and have not been terminated for their conduct.”
The complaint then lists, by name and date, Colts players who were arrested and charged with public drunkenness, multiple incidences of drunken driving – including one player whom police found “passed out in a ditch,” trespass and marijuana possession, resisting law enforcement and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, domestic battery, and a civil lawsuit for sexual battery.
She claims a white cheerleader posed semi-nude for a photographer who posted the photos on his website – shortly after the Colts fired Wampler – but the Colts did not fire the white cheerleader, and rehired her for the next season.
Wampler is represented by Kimberly Jeselskis.
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