The NWSL players petitioned owner Arnhem Whistler to sell the Chicago franchise

The NWSL players petitioned owner Arnhem Whistler to sell the Chicago franchise

Chicago Red Stars players have called on owner Arnhem Whistler to sell his stake in the team following a troubling report about misconduct in the National Women’s Soccer League.

The players issued a joint statement Monday, a move that comes after the Red Stars’ board of directors voted last week to remove Whistler as chairman and bar him from participating in team operations.

“We stand united with the board of directors in their decision to remove Whistler from the organization entirely and look forward to finding a new majority owner who can help us realize the full potential we have as players. As always know that this club exists.” The players said in the statement.

The NWSL also announced Monday that it is terminating the contracts of Orlando Pride coach Amanda Cromwell and assistant manager Sam Green following a league investigation into allegations of verbal abuse, harassment and retaliation at the club. Cromwell and Green have been on administrative leave since June.

Last week, former acting US Attorney General Sally Q. Yates released a report alleging abuse in the NWSL. Yates and the law firm King & Spaulding have been retained by US Soccer to investigate the allegations.

Research has found that emotional abuse and sexual misconduct are systemic in the league.

In more than 200 interviews, we heard report after report of relentless, pitiful tirades; manipulation that was about strength, not performance improvement; and retaliating against those who tried to come forward,” Yates wrote in his report. Stories of sexual abuse were even more frightening. And he gave an example of forced sex.

The Yates report focused primarily on three teams _ the Red Stars, Portland Thorns and Racing Louisville _ and how the reports of inappropriate behavior were handled.

Chicago head coach Rory Deams resigned after the 2021 season after the Washington Post published allegations of verbal and emotional abuse.

Dames was one of five NWSL coaches either fired or resigned over misconduct allegations last season.

North Carolina coach Paul Riley, who also coached Torrance, was accused of sexual assault and harassment by two former players in September 2021. Riley was fired and NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird was fired as a result.

Riley coached the Thorns in 2014 and 2015. After the team investigated complaints about his conduct, Riley’s contract was not renewed and Torrance reported the allegations to the NWSL office. But Portland didn’t publicly reveal the reasons for their decision, and Riley went on to coach elsewhere in the league. Riley denies the allegations.

In response to the Yates report, Portland fired two top officials. Owner Merritt Paulson also stated that he would no longer be actively involved in the day-to-day operations of the team.

Alaska Airlines, Major League Soccer’s sponsor of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Portland Timbers, announced it is channeling sponsorship funds for the quarter to the NWSL Players Association’s “Players Emergency Trust Support” fund and to youth sports in the Portland community.

Thorns forward Sophia Smith, who is training with the U.S. national team in Spain on Tuesday, said she hopes fans will turn out for the club’s playoff game on Oct. 23. .

“I think ultimately the fans not showing up affects the players more than anyone else. Talking to some of my teammates, we still really want people to show up and support us,” Smith said. “Because at the end of the day, even through all of this, we still have to be on the field. Step up and play football and play. I think our biggest thing will be whether we want to do it in front of our fans because that’s one of the positive things we have left in Portland. And what we are always waiting for.”

The NWSL and the players union are currently conducting their own investigation into misconduct in the league.

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