NWSL players protest on the pitch, issue demands after allegations


NWSL players take a stand amid a league-wide sexual harassment and coercion scandal.

The Washington Spirit and Gotham FC players all stopped play in the sixth minute of their game on Wednesday night and tied their arms in protest, making a powerful statement after troubling allegations of sexual harassment and coercion were raised. made last week against former North Carolina coach Courage. Paul Riley.

The NWSL Players Association also published a list of demands regarding the investigation into the scandal.

NWSL players stop matches in protest

Spirit and Gotham FC players on the pitch and on their respective benches all stopped play and walked towards the midfielder to tie their arms in a circle for a minute on Wednesday night.

The NSWLPA released a statement announcing that players from the other two games on Wednesday night – the Courage-Louisville game and the Thorns-Dash game – would follow suit with a similar protest.

“The teams will stop playing in each of tonight’s games in the sixth minute,” the statement said. “The players will come together in solidarity in the center circle for a minute in recognition of the six years it took for Mana, Sinead and all those who fought too long to be heard.

“We call on the fans to stay silent with us. During this time, we ask that you remain in this pain and discomfort with us as we consider what too many of us have been asked to sit for too long.

The NWSLPA also said all players “will refuse to answer any questions that do not relate to abuse and systemic changes in the NWSL” on Wednesday evening.

NWSLPA publishes list of demands

Riley was fired last week after a report from The Athletic detailed allegations of sexual harassment and coercion made against him dating back to at least 2010. Among other things, he allegedly made a player sit on his lap during a car ride and then allegedly forced her to have sex with him and made two players kiss to prevent the team from doing extra laps.

Riley was fired hours after that report and NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird resigned a day later. The league canceled all games last weekend. The game officially resumed Wednesday evening.

Courage owner Steve Malik spoke out for the first time on Wednesday and apologized for his “failure” with Riley, though he insisted he was unaware of the allegations until last week. Baird said the same in a statement, although she was called by Alex Morgan on Twitter – who posted email receipts regarding the allegations sent to Baird earlier this year.

The NWSL, FIFA and US Soccer have all opened investigations into the allegations. The NWSLPA issued a list of demands regarding the league investigation, largely demanding full transparency and league-wide cooperation.

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