Cheerleader who posed for racy photos sues Colts over firing

INDIANAPOLIS -- A former Indianapolis Colts cheerleader has sued the team, saying she was wrongly fired over photos she took for Playboy.

Ex-Colts cheerleader Malori Wampler (center) said she was fired by the team for <i>Playboy</i> photos taken before she was hired.
Ex-Colts cheerleader Malori Wampler (center) said she was fired by the team for Playboy photos taken before she was hired. (Jim Mahoney/Associated Press)

In district court papers filed this week, Malori Wampler said the team terminated her for violating the squad's morals clause last November after someone anonymously sent the team photos she took for Playboy while wearing body paint.

Wampler, 26, said she has attended a party at the Playboy Mansion, served as a host for Playboy's golf outings and taken photos for the company's publications, although she says she never posed nude. She claims the photos in question were taken before she was hired by the Colts, were not published, her name wasn't affiliated with them, and she wasn't compensated.

Wampler's attorney, Kimberly Jeselskis, said the firing was a surprise.

"Prior to the time she was hired, she was forthcoming to the Colts about her affiliation with Playboy," Jeselskis said Wednesday. "They said that wasn't an issue, that wasn't something they were concerned with, so they hired her to be a cheerleader. She's had no further affiliation with Playboy since before she started cheering."

She also said several Colts players have run afoul of the law in recent years and haven't received the same degree of punishment.

"There are players who, in our opinion, get away with things that are much worse than what she was terminated for, and they aren't disciplined or removed," Jeselskis said.

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The filing claims the team discriminated against Wampler, who is Indonesian, because of her race. Jeselskis said a white cheerleader who was on the squad last season posed in a provocative photo while she was on the team. She said the white cheerleader wasn't disciplined and has made the 2011 squad.

Dan Emerson, the Colts' general counsel, said Wampler doesn't have a case.

"It's my belief and the Colts' contention that her claim or claims have no merit whatsoever, and I just think that it's a very sad situation that it's gone as far as it has," he said.

Jeselskis said Wampler is entitled to get back her job, lost wages and damages.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press