NFL Network Insider: Network's Culture A "Toxic Cesspool"

Photo: LM Otero/AP
Photo: LM Otero/AP

More details and hints about the NFL Network’s culture of misogyny and sexual misconduct have emerged in the days since Jami Cantor, a wardrobe stylist for the network, filed an amendment to her lawsuit against the company that accused Marshall Faulk, Ike Taylor, and Heath Evans, among others, of sexual harassment and assault. The Twitter account of David Eaton, vice president and executive editor of NFL Media, was deleted after being scrubbed of years worth of interaction with escorts and porn stars. Former employee Lindsay McCormick said that the head of hiring talent asked her if she planned on “getting knocked up immediately like the rest of them.” And last week, former sportscaster Lisa Guerrero tweeted, “So I’ve been bombarded in the last 48 hours with questions about the lawsuit re: ex NFL players and execs that I once worked with, for & interviewed...Yes. They did it.” (She has since deleted the tweet.)


Now it turns out that Marc Watts, the former director of talent development at NFL Network who, according to Cantor’s lawsuit, dismissed her reports of sexual harassment, regularly made sexually disparaging remarks about women both inside and outside the NFL Network, according to a former reporter who worked at the network until last year. (Watts now runs Marc’d Academy, a company designed to help people “master the art of TV presentation.” He did not answer requests for comment, and an NFL Network spokesman declined to comment on the record.)

The former employee—who asked to remain anonymous because he still works in sports media—said Watts showed him video résumés of women and made remarks that included, “Look at the titties on that one.” This wasn’t the only time Watts spoke about women in sexually disparaging terms, the source said. Watts brought up one of the former employee’s female colleagues at his previous job, and asked, “Are you fucking her, you hitting that? Man, that’s a nice piece of ass.” The former employee says he said no and explained that he was engaged; he described feeling very uncomfortable with the conversation.

According to the source, Watts said similar things about female talent at the NFL Network. He said that Watts once asked what he thought about a certain NFL Network reporter and if would he have sex with her, before saying himself, “I would hit that from the back.”

Watts also, in our source’s telling, took credit for the success of women at the network. He described being in Watts’s office when he called in a female NFL Network anchor and asked her, “Who’s responsible for you being the talent that you are?” The source described the woman as seeming unfazed when she answered that Watts had helped coach her up in broadcast television. Then Watts said, “Yeah, and now she’s like the Kim Kardashian of sports.” After the woman left the office, Watts told the former employee that when the woman arrived at NFL Network, “she was on the tubby side.” The former employee said Watts told him that he told the woman “to lose some weight.”

The source said he had reported to both Eaton and Jamie Hemann—vice president of media administration and talent—that Watts’s behavior made him feel uncomfortable and that he didn’t like working with him. As far as he could tell, he said, nothing was done to address it. The former employee said that he had seen instances of the men named in the lawsuit acting disrespectfully to women in the workplace, but that there were “no repercussions, no consequences.” The working environment, he said, was a “toxic cesspool.”

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