Dallas, TX

Opinion: Dallas Cowboys' $2.4M voyeurism settlement is a cruel reminder of how toxic the workplace can be for women

Jalyn Smoot

Tom Pennington/Getty

DALLAS- Last Wednesday, the Dallas Cowboys agreed to a lofty $2.4M confidential settlement with four members of their acclaimed cheerleading squad after they accused a senior team executive of voyeurism as they undressed during a 2015 event at AT&T Stadium, according to documents obtained by ESPN.

One of the cheerleaders involved claims to have seen Richard Dalrymple, a longtime Dallas Cowboys senior vice president for public relations and communications, standing behind a partial wall near their changing room with his phone camera aimed at them as they undressed, according to several people with knowledge of the events and letters later sent by attorneys for the cheerleaders to the team.

The details of the letters insist that Dalrymple gained entry to the back door of the cheerleaders' locked dressing room by using a security key card.

Upon being made aware of the accusations, the Dallas Cowboys conducted a private investigation and found reason to take action against the longtime executive, however, the team did agree to a financial settlement with each of the women involved.

Each woman was paid nearly $400k and the remaining settlement funds were paid out to attorneys. For Dalrymple, this was his second time being accused of sexual harassment in the work environment. Previously, the former Cowboys executive was also accused of taking upskirt images of Charlotte Jones Anderson, a team senior vice president and the daughter of team owner Jerry Jones, in the Cowboys' war room during the 2015 NFL draft.

That accusation was made by a Cowboys fan who signed an affidavit that he was watching a live stream of the war room on the team’s website when he said he saw the alleged incident.

Dalrymple, who worked closely with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for 32 years, was not fired for either incident and instead retired in January.

In regards to the alleged filming of the undressing Dallas cheerleaders, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy has since called the incident a "club matter" and said that the league has no plans of launching an additional investigation.

Frankly, the league's unconcerned stance on that matter is very disheartening, especially for a repeat offender like Dalrymple.

For a league that claims to be as inclusive and people-driven as the NFL, it is a shame to know that stars of such a treasured franchise could be spied on sexually while on the clock.

Sexual harassment is a huge issue in the workplace, not just the NFL, and far too often are the complaints and claims by women overlooked or disregarded.

Even in a case like this when a financial settlement is agreed to, there is hardly any punishment for the offenders. Even worse, not only do sexual offenders scarcely receive more than a mere slap on the wrist, but victims of sexual harassment are often reluctant of speaking out in fear of retaliation.

According to a joint study by the Washington Study and ABC, roughly 54% of women have reported unwanted sexual attention or harassment in the workplace. Additionally, the total number of women being harassed figures to be much higher considering the number of unreported incidents.

Women and men alike deserve to be able to work without the threat of receiving unwanted sexual attention or advancements. Hopefully, employers begin implementing and honoring more stringent sexual harassment policies. If not, we run the risk of being stuck in this hellacious cycle of workplace harassment.

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I write about Dallas and Collin County sports, politics, interesting people, and environmental issues. I strive to shine a light on issues that are still in the dark and help to give a voice to the voiceless

Dallas, TX

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