The Snacks podcast with soccer stars Sam Mewis and Lynn Williams is officially back. On the first episode of the new season with guest Megan Rapinoe, the co-hosts addressed the recent allegations of misconduct made against Paul Riley, their former North Carolina coach.
Mewis and Williams both played under Riley with the Western New York Flash in 2016 and followed him to the Courage the following year. The Courage fired Riley on Sept. 30, hours after the release of The Athletic report, in which former players accused him of sexual coercion and emotional abuse.
“A big part of what this podcast is about is having open, hard and transparent conversations, but Lynn and I are still processing what happened,” Mewis says to open up the episode.
“We’ve been focusing internally as a team and supporting each other as best we can during this time,” Williams adds. “Firstly, we stand with and commend Sinead and Mana and all players who have bravely come forward and shared their stories. We don’t condone any behavior of sexual assault or abuse in any form. It has no place in our league, in our sport or in society.”
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The allegations have led to a reckoning within the NWSL over player protections and rights. Players across the league, including Mewis and Williams, have spoken out in support of those who have come forward in recent months to demand institutional changes.
In recent games, players have come together in solidarity at the sixth minute of play to recognize how long it’s taken players to share their stories of abuse and mistreatment.
“The strength of the women who have come forward has sparked a necessary, systemic change to create a more open, transparent and safe environment for players,” Mewis said. “An environment where players feel comfortable coming forward and where all people are treated with respect, integrity and feel empowered to have a voice.”
“Thank you for listening and understanding that, when the time is right, we will speak more openly, but it has been a very heavy week and we are still getting through our thoughts,” Williams said. “Girls, women, athletes, people in general of all ages — you have value and you have a voice.”