The NWSL Players Association issued a statement on Monday in the wake of allegations of emotional and verbal abuse against former Chicago Red Stars coach Rory Dames, who resigned from his position Sunday before the Washington Post report surfaced.
“This type of coaching has no place in the NWSL, youth soccer or anywhere else,” said the NWSLPA. “We stand with Christen Press, Jen Hoy, Sam Johnson and any player who comes forward to speak out against abuse of any kind.
“We have said it before and will say it again now: the system has failed us. Through our investigation, we will seek out the root causes of these systemic failures to prevent this from happening to future generations.
“Nothing short of a complete transformation of our league will suffice.”
A statement from the NWSLPA on Rory Dames: pic.twitter.com/ZxSm1QuF3x— NWSLPA (@nwsl_players) November 23, 2021
A statement from the NWSLPA on Rory Dames: pic.twitter.com/ZxSm1QuF3x
The NWSLPA is currently conducting an independent investigation of the league, which the two sides agreed to following accusations of sexual coercion and emotional abuse against former North Carolina Courage coach Paul Riley. Each of the NWSL’s 12 clubs are being investigated to determine whether any abuse “has occurred at any point in time.”
As part of the NWSLPA’s “Step Back Protocol,” one of the association’s eight demands met by the league, anyone who was in a position of power at the time a club hired or dismissed a coach under investigation for abuse will “be suspended from any governance or oversight within NWSL pending the conclusion of an independent investigation.”
NWSLPA Executive Director Meghann Burke confirmed to Just Women’s Sports that the PA will have two seats on the Oversight Committee that is responsible for overseeing the investigation. That committee will also resolve the “Step Back Protocol,” Burke said.
It is unclear whether Red Stars majority owner Arnim Whisler falls under the protocol at this time.
According to The Post’s reporting, Whistler was aware of the 2018 investigation into the allegations of abuse made against Dames. Whisler also worked with U.S. Soccer to help found the NWSL in 2012.