Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Officials Pair of Thorns Fire, Racing Louisville President Apologizes After NWSL Abuse Report CBC Sports

The Portland Thorns have sacked a pair of team officials in the wake of an investigation into misconduct in the National Women’s Football League.

The Thorns’ move on Wednesday came a day after owner Merritt Paulson removed himself from the decision-making role with the team.

Chicago Red Stars owner Arnim Whistler also stepped down from his role.

Meanwhile, Racing Louisville President James O’Connor apologized to fans and a former player who came forward with allegations of sexual abuse.

Former Acting US Attorney General Sally Q. The law firm of Yates and King & Spaulding released the results of their investigation on Monday, detailing “systematic” misconduct and misconduct in women’s football. US Soccer retained Yates when a series of scandals rocked the league last year.

Last season, five out of 10 NWSL coaches were either fired or sacked over allegations of misconduct. Among them was former Thornes and North Carolina Courage coach Paul Riley, who was accused of sexual assault and harassment a decade earlier by former players Mana Shim and Sinead Farrelly. Riley has denied the allegations.

The Yates report focused on three former coaches: Riley, Christy Holly of Louisville and Rory Dames of Chicago. The investigation not only found misconduct by all three, but also stated that their teams did not cooperate fully.

Thorns officers Gavin Wilkinson and Mike Golub were both relieved of their duties on Wednesday. Both were also sacked from Paulson’s other team, Major League Soccer’s Portland Timbers.

Riley coached Thorns in 2014 and 2015. His alleged misconduct was investigated by the team, which opted not to renew his contract, but did not publicly explain the reason for the decision.

Yates wrote that Thornes management “interfered with our access to relevant witnesses and made specific legal arguments in an attempt to constrain our use of relevant documents.” The investigation also found inappropriate workplace comments made by team officials.

Riley served as a coach for the Western New York Flash, which later became the North Carolina Courage. Riley was with courage until September 2021 when allegations of misconduct were published in The Athletic.

‘Action must be taken’

The Courage issued a statement saying the team remains committed to the players’ safety and will take appropriate action on the recommendations in the report.

“The North Carolina Courage stands in full support of players affected by abusive behavior in our league. We accept our responsibility to continually investigate our role within our organization and systemic problems in our sport, as described in the Yates report.” Told. “The details and incidents are deeply disturbing, and action must be taken to ensure that these types of incidents never happen again.”

Former Red Stars coach Dames reportedly verbally abused players and created a hostile work environment. He resigned at the end of last season.

Whistler has announced that it is removing itself from the governing role on the NWSL board and passing control of the franchise to its executive team.

“The past few months have been a time of deep humility, remorse and reflection for me. I have always endeavored to ensure that everyone hired in our environment is of high character and shares our positive values. But we He hasn’t always been successful. For that, I’m sorry,” Whistler said in a statement.

The investigative report also referred to an April 2021 encounter between then-Louisville coach Holly and a player, Erin Simon, who now plays in Europe. Holly invites him to watch a sports movie with her and reportedly tells her that for every pass he messed up, he was going to touch her. Simon told investigators that Holly “pushed his hands down his pants and up his shirt.”

‘We failed our locker room’

Holly was fired last season after the club looked into the allegations against him.

“We appreciate Erin’s bravery in coming forward as part of the US Soccer investigation. And while our former coach was terminated within 24 hours of being alerted to the behavior, we know that It wasn’t enough and we failed our locker room. Creating a space where this behavior could happen,” O’Connor said in a statement Wednesday.

He added: “We are not the same club we were in August of 2021. Now we give it to our players and the community to prove it.”

The NWSL and its players association are also investigating alleged misconduct in the league.

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