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Paul Riley fined after criticizing NWSL for playing through the Olympics


The NWSL has fined North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley for comments he made Thursday criticizing the league.

Ahead of his team’s matchup with the Orlando Pride on Saturday, Riley said the league’s decision to play through the Olympics “makes zero sense.” The NWSL continues regular-season games through the Olympics while the WNBA pauses play for a month.

“It makes no sense that we’re playing these games with all these players missing,” he said Thursday. “Basketball has taken a break. We’re the only league not taking a break. Playing during the Olympics makes zero sense to me.”

He then pointed out that the lack of star talent is also detrimental to the fans. Currently, the Courage are without Sam Mewis and Lynn Williams, who are starring for the USWNT as they head into the semifinals.

“People are paying money for quality tickets,” Riley continued. “And the national team players are gone.”

The NWSL announced the fine on Friday afternoon, saying Riley was in violation of Section 12.1.4 (“Prejudicial Statements and Public Criticism”) of the league manual.