The lawyer for two former NFL cheerleaders told USA TODAY Sports on Thursday that she's "optimistic and encouraged" after discussions with the league's legal representatives.
Sara Blackwell seeks better working conditions for members of teams' cheerleading squads through the implementation of league-wide guidelines after some clubs have been accused of fostering an environment of harassment and intimidation. Blackwell, who threatened legal action against the league on behalf of her clients, also spoke with an outside lawyer representing the league Wednesday.
"I thought it went really well," Blackwell said in a phone interview. "I am optimistic and encouraged by the conversation. Although I think their concern is genuine, we didn't waive any rights (to file lawsuits) and we still have that right moving forward. I'm very, very optimistic they are coming to the table with the right intentions."
Blackwell sent a letter to the NFL in which she offered to drop the threat of litigation in exchange for $1 and a meeting with Commissioner Roger Goodell. Blackwell is the attorney for Bailey Davis, a former New Orleans Saints cheerleader, and former Miami Dolphins cheerleader Kristan Ann Ware.
While Blackwell said she may not get that meeting with Goodell, she also doesn’t think a forum with Goodell is necessary for the league to institute changes.
"I don't care if they have me talk to the janitor," Blackwell said. "I want to talk to whoever has the authority to make a difference. That could be Goodell or anyone else. I don't care who it is."
Messages left by USA TODAY Sports with the NFL and its counsel were not immediately returned Thursday.
There's been no other conference call or meeting scheduled as of Thursday. Blackwell said the two sides are in the process of exchanging information on the issue.
"I really think it's possible that this collaboration could make the NFL the organization that could be the leader in the #MeToo movement," Blackwell said. "The NFL could really set an example. We don't want them to say, 'We're sorry.' We want them to say, 'We're going to do all we can to make sure (cheerleaders) are treated with respect."
Earlier this month, The New York Times detailed the misogynistic and predatory behavior that some Washington Redskins cheerleaders allegedly were subjected to on multiple occasions.
The Washington Redskins countered some of the more lewd claims, which included details from a 2013 trip to an adults-only resort in Costa Rica. Cheerleaders were asked to go topless and wear body paint with Redskins sponsors and FedEx Field suite owners – all men – watching, according to five unnamed cheerleaders who attended the photo shoot.