all scores

What NWSL, NWSLPA investigation means in wake of Yates report

Fans hold up a sign calling out Portland Thorns and Timbers owner Merritt Paulson in March 2022. (Logan Hannigan-Downs/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

As the fallout from the Sally Yates report continues, the NWSL and NWSL Players Association are completing their own investigation into abusive behaviors within the league.

The NWSLPA released a statement on Twitter on Thursday detailing the goals of the investigation and how it differs from the Yates report. While the Yates investigation focused on shining a light on the “systemic” issues within the league, the NWSL and NWSLPA investigation seeks to highlight every instance of wrongdoing, dating back to 2013.

“As Players, we have chosen to focus our outrage into a singular mission: to identify everything and everyone that failed us so that we can develop strategies that will prevent this from ever happening again,” the statement reads.

The investigation will look into “every instance of inappropriate conduct towards players by individuals in positions of power,” with the hopes of tracing the behaviors back to their origins. The NWSLPA says the joint investigation will build on the findings in the Yates report.

“While the findings and recommendations in the Yates report are significant and disturbing, it is not the end of the story,” the statement said.

In addition to Riley, Dames and Holly, two other coaches resigned or were fired last year amid allegations of misconduct. Since the NWSL and NWSLPA began their joint investigation, Dash head coach James Clarkson and Pride coaches Amanda Cromwell and Sam Greene were placed on administrative leave based on recommendations from the investigative team.

The NWSLPA also addressed the lack of cooperation from the Portland Thorns, Chicago Red Stars and Racing Louisville with the Yates investigation. In their statement, they said that the NWSL and NWSLPA investigation will give those clubs another chance to “produce that information immediately, enabling us to marshal facts that the U.S. soccer investigation could not.”

Those three clubs were at the center of the Yates report, with significant abuse and patterns of inappropriate behavior by coaches Paul Riley, Rory Dames and Christy Holly detailed at length.

Following the report, Thorns owner Merritt Paulson has stepped away from “decision-making” within the organization, and two other executives implicated in the report were fired.

Chicago’s board of directors voted to remove Red Stars owner Armin Whisler from his position as Chairman of the Board.

No personnel changes within the Racing Louisville organization have been announced.

All three teams have released statements promising to fully cooperate with the joint investigation, though their reasoning for hindering the Yates investigation has yet to be addressed.