Former NFL cheerleader Kristan Ann Ware loved her job cheering for the Miami Dolphins. But all that changed once her coaches and team found out she was Christian and saving herself for marriage. Bullying and discrimination followed, turning this into a true story of persecution. But Kristan’s response is truly inspiring!
Faith is a big part of Kristan Ann Ware’s life. And as part of her religious beliefs, she’s saving sex for marriage.
Kristan’s fellow cheerleaders found out about her vow on a bus ride in London in October 2015. During the trip, some “girl talk” broke out. Other cheerleaders started sharing what songs were on their "sex playlist." When they pressed Kristan for details about her sex life, she respectfully told them about her choice to abstain.
"Kristan told her teammates that she was waiting until she was married because of her personal relationship with God," reads a complaint from Kristan’s lawyer.
Word of Kristan’s virginity made it to the whole team, including the coaches. And now that her “secret” was out, everything started to change.
True Story Of Persecution — Mocked For Her Beliefs
A few months after the London trip, it was time for Kristan’s annual review. Miami Dolphins cheerleaders have to re-apply for their job every season. As a “veteran” entering her third year, Kristan didn’t think she had any reason to worry. But then one of the coaches said, “Let’s talk about your virginity.”
From there, two different coaches warned Kristan she needed to stop talking about her virginity.
"It was like a bus hit me," Kristan said. "I was completely speechless. All that formed on my face were tears."
Kristan finished out the season, but things were never the same.
“I loved my job,” Kristan said. “It was great, but after that things just started to change. …It became unbearable.”
The work environment she once loved turned hostile. She was taunted and teased because of her beliefs and purity. The bullied cheerleader reported the behavior to a Human Resources representative but nothing changed.
True Story Of Persecution — The Bullying Continues
In addition to mocking her virginity, Kristan says the team stifled her Christian beliefs, as well.
Kristan likes to refer to herself as a cheerleader for Jesus Christ, and her own social media accounts are filled with Bible verses and references to our Lord.
But when she wrote a “Motivation Monday” blog post for the Dolphins’ blog, all of her references to God and Jesus were edited out.
And Kristan suggests the religious persecution she experienced is also a form of gender discrimination. She points out how male NFL players are free to publicly express their religious beliefs. But her coaches told her to keep her personal beliefs private.
Kristan tried standing up for herself. But the coaches used intimidation to get her to back down.
“All we need is a pretty girl to wear the uniform. You're completely replaceable, so if you have a problem with it, leave,” Kristan reports their response being.
She finally left her job to escape the abuse.
True Story Of Persecution — Getting Help
Encouraged by the Me Too movement, where others have been speaking out about the sexual harassment and discrimination of women in the workplace, Kristan finally found the courage to hire a lawyer.
"If it wasn't for God healing me and using my pain for his purpose, I would have never been courageous enough to tell my story,” she says. “Right now is the perfect time to tell my story."
Kristan has formally filed a complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations. She’s hoping by speaking out, her experience will pave the way for other women facing similar circumstances as they pursue their dreams.
"I want to make a positive difference where these girls can have their dreams come true without compromising who they are,” she says. “The silence needs to end. The intimidation needs to end."
We applaud Kristan for coming forward with her story and for allowing God to use her suffering for a greater purpose.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,” Colossians 3:23
h/t: NBC News
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