June 15, 2017 / 11:38 PM / a year ago

NFL Alumni Association's ex-CEO accused of sexual harassment

(Reuters) - The former chief executive of a National Football League alumni association has been accused in a lawsuit of sexually harassing female staff members, once smacking an executive assistant on her backside.

The lawsuit, filed this week in a New Jersey state court, targets Joe Pisarcik, who played quarterback for the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles in the 1970s and 1980s before becoming CEO of the NFL Alumni Association. He retired from the group this year.

A spokeswoman for the New Jersey-based NFL Alumni Association declined to comment on the lawsuit and Pisarcik and a spokesman for the NFL could not be reached.

The civil action was filed on Monday by Carolyn Slickmeyer, who was Pisarcik’s executive assistant, and by the association’s former marketing manager, Rebecca Kelly, and former membership representative Brianna Greco. All three were hired in 2015.

The association “not only tolerated, but encouraged, a grossly sexist culture in which their highest-level employee, the chief executive officer Joseph Pisarcik, freely subjected plaintiffs to outrageous and degrading sex-based conduct,” the lawsuit said.

Pisarcik “made it clear” to the three women that he was attracted to them and “wanted to engage with them sexually,” it said.

He once smacked Slickmeyer on her backside with mail, the suit said. On another occasion, when she was in his office, he smacked her buttocks with his hand, it said.

He also is accused of massaging the women’s shoulders and backs and braiding two of the women’s hair.

The women submitted complaints about Pisarcik to association officials in March, accusing him of sexual harassment. Later that month, the company announced Pisarcik’s retirement, saying he wanted to spend more time with family.

Their suit seeks compensatory damages but does not specify an amount.

When Pisarcik played for the Giants, he was at the center of a bizarre play in November 1978 known as “The Miracle in the Meadowlands” or “The Fumble.”

With the Giants winning against the Philadelphia Eagles and the game almost over, spectators had expected Pisarcik to kneel with the ball to run out the clock. Instead he tried to hand it off to a running back and fumbled the ball. An Eagles player picked it up and ran for the winning touchdown.

The alumni association, founded in 1967, works on behalf of retired players, coaches and cheerleaders from the NFL.

Editing by Frank McGurty and Bill Trott

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