all scores

‘Get the idiots out’: NWSL players respond to Paul Riley allegations


Amid allegations of sexual coercion and emotional abuse by North Carolina Courage coach Paul Riley, NWSL players are speaking out in reaction and support of their colleagues.

Alex Morgan, who is featured in The Athletic article and who originally helped Mana Shim report her experiences to the Portland Thorns and the league, tweeted out in support.

“I am sickened and have too many thoughts to share at this moment,” she wrote. “Bottom line: protect your players. Do the right thing NWSL.”

USWNT star Megan Rapinoe also called out the clubs and executives which have allowed coaches accused of misconduct to find new roles elsewhere.

Haley Carter also voiced her support for the players, calling for the Courage to suspend Riley immediately.

“Abuse of any kind has no place in the game,” she wrote. “Get him away from players. Get any staff who was aware of this behavior and failed to report it away from players. This is a zero tolerance matter.”

Nikki Stanton thanked those who shared their stories, telling them “it won’t be for nothing.”

Meanwhile, Nadia Nadim called the NWSL “such a joke.”

“Making their own bogus investigation, keeping it confidential, and then keep having the back of people that’s doing wrong have to stop,” she wrote.

“I’m back in this league to make a difference and to improve things. This league can be great, as we have the best players in the world. We just need to get the idiots out, gain power and make this league as great as it CAN be.”

Christine Sinclair called it “everyone’s responsibility to hold the standards and enforce accountability.”

Kealia Ohai Watt thanked Shim and Farrelly for their bravery.

“I am so sorry for what you have had to go through,” she wrote.

Janine Beckie also tweeted in support.

Becky Sauerbrunn thanked those who have spoken out in recent months for their “strength and courage.” She also thanked the NWSLPA for the leadership they’ve shown and asked players to make use of the resources the PA has made available.

“We’ve been doing this for almost a decade now, with two prior leagues’ worth of experience beforehand to inform and guide us,” she wrote. “To be where we are today is unacceptable. The league and every club have to do better.”

Angel City FC also tweeted out in response to the NWSLPA’s statement, saying, “we will not and are not ignoring this.”

They later issued a full statement, calling the allegations “absolutely horrific and unacceptable.”

Gotham FC issued a statement of their own, alongside GM Yael Averbuch West.

Didi Haracic tweeted “DO NOT IGNORE THIS.”

Crystal Dunn also responded, tweeting “Protect players! Protect women!”

Angela Salem expressed her sadness and dissapointment.

“Enough is enough!” she wrote. “Players should not have to suffer anymore. The last few weeks have been a shitshow. My heart is so heavy right now.”

Rachel Corsie echoed the NWSLPA, stating “WE WILL NOT LET THIS CONTINUE.”

Megan Rapinoe also responded to the allegations.

“Men, protecting men, who are abusing women,” she wrote. “I’ll say it again, men, protecting men, who are ABUSING WOMEN.

“Burn it all down. Let all their heads roll.”

Meghan Klingenberg added to statements she made in August at the International Champions Cup.

“It takes real courage to speak out about abuse and harassment in this league, especially when the perpetrators are often rehired and the very institutions that are supposed to protect us from them give them a free pass for abusive behavior,” she wrote. “It is enraging that the NWSL knew about this abuse and allowed the abuser to be rehired…A safe work environment is the lowest bar.

“This league won’t fold. But it sure as hell won’t ever be the same. And that’s a good thing.”

She then called out Lisa Baird in the NWSL’s statement, calling the accusations “not *new*”

“People need to stop blaming others for their feelings & saying ‘i’m sorry what i said/did made you feel that way,'” she wrote in a later tweet. “Own up to the fact that they were wrong. what hurts me most is that people are still failing to hold themselves accountable.”

Toni Deion Pressley also threw her support behind Shim and Farrelly.

Bella Bixby tweeted “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”

“The bare minimum we ask is that we can show up and do our job in a safe environment,” she wrote in another tweet. “This abuse occurs at every level that I know of and it is horrifying. When will leadership stop falling on the players alone to protect each other? Protect players, protect women. Period.”

Sophia Smith responded to the allegations on Twitter, calling it “scary” as a young player.

“It’s a scary and intimidating feeling to never know who’s looking out for you or who you can trust,” she wrote. “the bare minimum is being asked of the league to protect its players, and they can’t even do that.”

San Diego NWSL also responded, calling players the “nucleus” of the NWSL.

Head coach Casey Stoney also responded, calling player welfare “paramount.”

“Creating an open, honest, caring & supportive environment is something I pride myself on & will continue in my new role,” she continued. “It is never easy to speak out but those players are brave & courageous.”

Rosie White called it “disturbing and disgusting.”

The Chicago Red Stars also issued a statement, saying they are “outraged to hear about another instance of player abuse and are devastated for the players involved.”

Kaiya McCullough, who has detailed her own accounts of abuse allegations to the Washington Post over former coach Richie Burke, said she “held back tears” as she read the article.

“How long does this need to go on?” she wrote.

“Every time I feel like I have found some sort of peace, I am re-traumatized with the fact that the same shit is happening to others, and nobody in positions of power are doing anything,” she continued.

Julie Foudy also responded.

“A league for women. Yet @NWSL fails to protect women,” she wrote.

Nicole Baxter also sounded off, saying she was “enraged.”