OL Reign star Megan Rapinoe gave a little more insight into resignation of Farid Benstiti from the NWSL club last year. Speaking with Jay Williams on “The Limits,” Rapinoe said the coach made fat-shaming comments toward players.
“Our coach [Farid Benstiti] got fired last year, from the Reign,” she said. “He made some — it was basically like a fat-shaming comment. He was talking about — he’s going to, like, take people’s food away. And I’m like, oh my god, grow up. You just got yourself fired; you’re so stupid.
“But, like, just little stuff like that, where if you’re making $25,000 and you have no autonomy over your rights, you have — you’re not a free agent. You’re barely scraping by. You just came out of college. Like, you’re not going to say anything. You’re just not. It’s too difficult to put someone in that position.”
Rapinoe referred to the lack of autonomy players have had in the NWSL, but the league has undergone major changes in the past year as the abuses of coaches came to light. The coaching departures haven’t stopped either: the Houston Dash suspended head coach and GM James Clarkson amid an investigation.
At the time of Benstiti’s departure last July, the club said that he had resigned from his position. However, according to a later report from The Washington Post’s Molly-Hensley Clancy, Benstiti was one of many NWSL coaches who were the subject “of a formal complaint of verbal abuse made by a player.”
USWNT player Lindsey Horan, who played for Benstiti at Paris Saint-Germain from 2012 to 2016, had been vocal in the past about being shamed for her weight by the coach. Following the allegations of abuse against former Chicago Red Stars coach Rory Dames, Horan said that it’s “really hard” to wake up to the news having “had a personal experience.”
After Benstit’s departure, OL Reign welcomed back former coach Laura Harvey, who was named the NWSL’s Coach of the Year for 2021.