The Chicago Red Stars have walked back their initial statement following allegations of abuse against former coach Rory Dames.
In the team’s new statement, they apologize to the three players who came forward publicly as well as “those players who didn’t feel safe to come forward.”
“We are deeply sorry for the pain they endure,” they wrote.
The statement then went on to say that the owners “commit to holding ourselves accountable and to doing better.”
“There is no place for any type of abuse in women’s sports,” the Red Stars continued. “The fact that it happened here, despite the belief that we had mechanisms in place to prevent it, means our club will require significant reflection and evaluation to ensure this does not happen again.”
The statement follows the team’s initial reaction to the allegations on Monday, in which the Red Stars revealed that they had initiated an independent review of player health and safety as well as the team’s culture and work environment “weeks ago.”
“We stand with the players who are fiercely advocating for change,” they wrote. “And we are committed to doing our part to ensure a safe environment for the League’s players, staff, volunteers and fans.”
Before that, the team released a statement near midnight on Sunday announcing that Dames was resigning as coach. The statement made no mention of the allegations of abuse, but is widely believe to have been prompted by the Washington Post story which was published on Monday.
The Post had approached the Red Stars with a summary of the allegations for comment, leading a team spokeswoman to issue a statement assuring that an “independent review of player health and safety and the team’s work culture” was under review.
On Tuesday, Red Stars’ co-owner Sarah Spain was featured on a podcast, where she talked about the future of the NWSL. The podcast was recorded on Monday, the same day the allegations hit the Post. In it, she said she remains committed to creating a better league for the players.
“I wanna be a part of it. I don’t want the worst people to ruin the s–t we love, and if we give up on trying to change it from within, that’s what we’re letting happen. So you just gotta struggle through it,” she said.
She reiterated her sentiments on Twitter on Tuesday, while also saying she is “not allowed to comment” on the accusations when asked by someone on Twitter.