Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Thorns owner Paulson steps down after reports of systemic emotional abuse, sexual misconduct | CBC Sports

Portland Thorn owner Merritt Paulson has removed herself from the decision-making role with the National Women’s Soccer League club until the findings from the ongoing investigation into the multiple scandals surrounding the league are released.

Paulson, who also owns Major League Soccer’s Portland Timbers, announced his decision in a statement Tuesday, a day after the release of the findings of a disturbing independent investigation into the NWSL abuse scandals initiated by US Soccer. Of. A concurrent investigation is still being conducted jointly by the league and the players’ union, and Paulson plans to walk away until its completion.

Gavin Wilkinson and Mike Golub, who have served in executive roles with Paulson’s teams, are also moving away from the Thorns, advancing to the NWSL playoffs. Paulson’s statement did not indicate whether the trio would also break away from the Timbers, and Paulson gave no indication that he plans to sell his teams.

“Yesterday’s unveiling of the Yates report was the darkest day I’ve experienced, and I know it’s true for everyone who loves our team and our league,” Paulson said. “I know it was even more difficult and profound for those whose stories were shared publicly. I appreciate our role in protecting players and the wrongs that were made in 2015. Can’t apologize. I’m really sorry.”

In an investigation report commissioned by US Soccer, Paulson was accused of enabling and supporting former Thorns coach Paul Riley after Riley was accused of harassment and sexual coercion by players Sinead Farrelly and Mana Shim. The investigation also found that Paulson and Wilkinson made inappropriate comments to women in the workplace.

look | CBC Sports’ Brint It In panel discusses the Paul Riley scandal:

Breaking Up NWSL – The Paul Riley Scandal | bring it in

Morgan Campbell, Shireen Ahmed and Meghan McPeak discuss the NWSL scandal, alleging Paul Riley’s abusive behavior and engaging in sexual conduct while head coach of the North Carolina Courage and Portland Thorns.

Golub is accused of making inappropriate sexual remarks in 2013 to former Thornes coach Cindy Parlow Coen, who is now president of US Soccer. Golub has previously faced criticism for his workplace behavior and tolerance for the misbehavior of others.

In her investigation report, former acting US Attorney General Sally Q. Yates accused Thornes management of coming up with information about Riley’s departure from the team in 2015, writing that the club “interfered with our access to relevant witnesses and raised specific legal arguments. Our use of relevant documents” in an attempt to obstruct.”

The Thorns did not announce why they were not renewing Riley’s contract that year, and Paulson later pledged to Riley as he got a job with the Western New York Flash, which later became the North Carolina Courage. . Riley was with courage until he was fired after his misconduct allegations were made public in September 2021.

Thorns’ general counsel Heather Davis will oversee the team’s decisions in Paulson’s absence.

“I greatly appreciate your patience and believe it is important that the process proceeds with a joint investigation,” Paulson wrote in the announcement of her decision. “I love the Portland Thorns and women’s football, and am taking these steps with these interests in mind.”

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