WWE Monday night RAW commentator Jonathan “The Coach” Coachman is named in a lawsuit that was filed by former ESPN anchor and legal analyst Adrienne Lawrence. The lawsuit accuses “The Coach” and others of sexual harassment. The New York Post posted an article on Monday, saying Lawrence filed a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit against the network on Sunday. The lawsuit alleges that Coachman, Chris Berman, Bomani Jones and others were involved in sexually harassing female employees.
The New York Post reports that Coachman used what it called the “ESPN predators’ playbook” by making contact with her under the pretense of mentoring her, and then made romantic overtures. According to Lawrence, when she told ESPN executive Jack Obringer about it, he immediately guessed it was Jonathan Coachman without being told and said that “The Coach” has sexually harassed numerous other female employees as well. The Post says, “After learning that, Ms. Lawrence made an effort to communicate to Coachman that she had a boyfriend, after which she did not hear from him again.”
You can read the allegations against Jonathan Coachman below. Coachman began working for ESPN in 2008 and worked there until 2017 before returning to WWE.
1. Men Preyed on Ms. Lawrence Under the Guise of Being Collegial or Providing Mentorship 125. On or around January 18, 2016, SportsCenter anchor Jonathan Coachman (“Coachman”) emailed Ms. Lawrence offering to provide her with mentorship and providing his cellphone number. When he contacted her via text, he quickly turned a professional conversation into a personal matter, asking her about her musical interests. He was employing the ESPN predators’ playbook. See supra at ¶ 84. Colleagues then cautioned Ms. Lawrence that Coachman was notorious for sexually harassing female employees. After learning that, Ms. Lawrence made an effort to communicate to Coachman that she had a boyfriend, after which she did not hear from him again and he made no offers of mentorship.
126. Coachman’s reputation for making unwelcome sexual advances toward women and engaging in other sexually harassing behavior was not a secret. Cary Chow had warned Ms. Lawrence about him when he gave the short list of men at ESPN who were notorious for sexual harassment. Coachman had sent Walsh inappropriate photos of himself and text messages, falsely telling her colleagues that they were romantically involved and that she “wanted” him – another common practice of men at ESPN.
ESPN issued the following statement to the Deadspin website regarding the lawsuit:
“We conducted a thorough investigation of the claims Adrienne Lawrence surfaced to ESPN and they are entirely without merit. Ms. Lawrence was hired into a two-year talent development program and was told that her contract would not be renewed at the conclusion of the training program. At that same time, ESPN also told 100 other talent with substantially more experience, that their contracts would not be renewed. The company will vigorously defend its position and we are confident we will prevail in court.”