Former Washington Spirit player Kaiya McCullough wrote in a tweet on Thursday that the NWSL and NWSL Players Association joint investigation on coaching abuse in the league has brought her “peace.”
Selected 32nd overall out of UCLA in the 2020 draft, McCullough left the NWSL that same year in September after experiencing what she later said was racism and verbal abuse from former Spirit head coach Richie Burke.
She reported Burke’s behavior to the Washington Post in 2021. The Spirit suspended Burke and then fired him in September of that year, following the completion of an investigation into his misconduct.
McCullough added to the tweet on Thursday that she had been gaslit, told she was lying and blamed for being “just mad” she wasn’t getting playing time.
“I had to heal publicly for TWO YEARS,” she added. “the weight of that is just sinking in. damn.”
this report has brought me peace. i feel vindicated. to be gaslit, told I was lying, and accused that I was just mad i didn’t get playing time by people for the last 2 years was an experience I wouldn’t wish on anybody.— Kai (@hiyakaiya) December 15, 2022
this report has brought me peace. i feel vindicated. to be gaslit, told I was lying, and accused that I was just mad i didn’t get playing time by people for the last 2 years was an experience I wouldn’t wish on anybody.
NWSL Players Association executive director Meghann Burke responded to McCullough’s tweet, saying, “This is my why.”
The NWSL and NWSLPA released their 14-month joint investigation Wednesday into widespread misconduct in the league, which substantiated allegations of abuse against Burke and other former coaches in the league. The NWSL report followed U.S. Soccer’s Sally Yates report, which was published in October and detailed a culture of systemic abuse.
Since leaving soccer, McCullough has become a Harvard Law candidate. She is chairwoman of the Anti Racist Soccer Club and an Athlete Ally ambassador.
This is my why. https://t.co/6fDjlCQ7h0— Meghann Burke (@meghannburke) December 15, 2022
This is my why. https://t.co/6fDjlCQ7h0