Gotham FC apologized to fans on Thursday after not holding a celebration for their NWSL Championship win.

Traditionally, championship-winning teams will hold a rally or a parade in their local market in the days following the title game. Gotham FC, instead, is hosting a “trophy tour,” which included a team visit to the Empire State Building and a ceremonial ringing of the NASDAQ opening bell on Thursday.

Media, however, was not informed until around 1 a.m. the day of Thursday’s festivities.

“It’s sad,” Lynn Williams told The Messenger. “I wish we could have celebrated with our fans who have been there all year.”

“We would have loved to celebrate the fans. Fans are a huge part of why we’re here,” Yazmeen Ryan added. “It’s not ideal that it won’t be until next season. But hopefully they stick with us and know that we’re gonna have many more of these to come.”

Gotham’s supporters group, Cloud 9, expressed their disappointment in the delayed celebration, writing on X that they “deserve to celebrate NOW, as a collective fanbase, with the players that brought home that trophy.”

Gotham veteran McCall Zerboni responded to fans on X with an assurance that their complaints are being heard by the players.

In response to the public pressure, Gotham issued an apologetic statement on Thursday night.

“We extend our sincere apology and recognize you deserved the chance to celebrate our champion athletes who brought the trophy home,” the club wrote. “We pledge to use the off-season to organize celebrations that befit a championship club and match the enthusiasm of the best fans in the world.”

It isn’t the first time a team has delayed its championship celebration. The Washington Spirit didn’t hold a rally to celebrate their 2021 championship win until April 2022, despite having the support of the Washington, D.C. mayor to schedule a parade sooner.

“We don’t even know if it’s gonna be the same team,” Williams told The Messenger, with the NWSL’s free-agency signing period set to begin Monday. “So that’s a bit upsetting. But I do think if we’re not going to do it right, then we have time to plan and go forward.”

Gotham FC general manager Yael Averbuch West addressed the club’s decision to re-sign team captain McCall Zerboni, who made a racist analogy during a postgame press conference last season.

West likes to be “as transparent as [she] can” about the club’s decision making processes, she wrote Friday on Twitter.

“Being a GM is a job full of decisions and it’s important to me that our supporters understand why and how we’re building at Gotham FC,” she wrote. “McCall has acknowledged the harm of her words last season and embraced the need for further education.

“This aligns with our desire to be a club that supports its players in learning, improving, and growing as athletes and people.”

In August, after Zerboni made a racist analogy related to Native Americans, many called out the language.

Madison Hammond, a defender for Angel City FC and the NWSL’s lone Native American player, said Zerboni’s comment “has to be acknowledged… not because I want to call out one person but because it’s indicative of how our larger culture continues to perpetuate harmful stereotypes about Native Americans and Indigenous cultures.”

While Hammond spoke with Zerboni and said she knew the Gotham FC captain “didn’t intend harm,” certain phrases are “rooted in brutal racism.”

Zerboni later issued an apology, and Gotham said it had “addressed the matter internally.”

NJ/NY Gotham FC has responded to outcry over captain McCall Zerboni making a racist analogy in her postgame comments on Sunday.

In a statement Wednesday, Gotham said that it is aware of Zerboni’s remarks and that it “will not abide by any language that perpetuates harmful stereotypes.”

“We have addressed the matter internally and will continue to seek opportunities to educate our organization and community about the impact words have on others,” the club wrote.

Madison Hammond, a defender for Angel City FC and the NWSL’s lone Native American player, addressed the comments Tuesday night. In a Twitter thread, she said that while she has spoken with Zerboni and knows that she “didn’t intend harm,” certain phrases are still “rooted in brutal racism” and “way too common in our everyday lexicon.”

Cloud 9, Gotham’s supporters group, said Tuesday that they would reach out to front office directly and call for the issue to be addressed.

Zerboni issued an initial apology Tuesday, then further addressed the comments Wednesday, writing that she was “unaware the expression I ignorantly chose to use could cause so much harm.”

“I’ve certainly got it now,” she wrote. “No this is not Gotham’s issue. No not our media personnel, admin, etc. This is all me all my bad. Thanks for pushing me to grow in ways I didn’t know I needed to people.”

Madison Hammond, a defender for Angel City FC and the NWSL’s lone Native American player, took to Twitter on Tuesday night after NJ/NY Gotham FC captain McCall Zerboni made a racist analogy in her postgame comments Sunday.

Cloud 9, Gotham’s supporters group, said Tuesday that the language Zerboni used was “unacceptable” and that they would be reaching out to the front office directly, with the expectation that Zerboni and the team would address the issue.

Later that day, Hammond addressed Zerboni’s comments in a Twitter thread.

“This has to be acknowledged and is really important,” wrote Hammond. “Not because I want to call out one person but because it’s indicative of how our larger culture continues to perpetuate harmful stereotypes about Native Americans and Indigenous cultures.”

Hammond said she has spoken with Zerboni and knows that she “didn’t intend harm.”

However, the defender continues by saying that certain phrases are “rooted in brutal racism” and still “way too common in our everyday lexicon.”

“As the only Native American in the NWSL I want to start a necessary conversation, because phrases like these make Native Americans feel othered, invisible, and prove there is a lack of understanding and respect for Indigenous culture,” she added. “They may seem harmless, but they’re not.”

Megan Rapinoe, who played with Hammond when the defender was with OL Reign, voiced her support of Hammond’s statement.

“Exactly what needs to be said,” she wrote. “Don’t let not learning and growing and keep you rooted in racism yall. Appreciate you Hamm.”

Zerboni also took to Twitter to apologize for her words, writing: “im sorry if anything i’ve ever said has offended any1. the last thing i would ever want 2 do is hurt someones feelings or make them feel unloved. if u knew me u would know this. i’ve fallen short at this at times im sure but my intent always lead with love.”

McCall Zerboni and Erin McLeod joined other NWSL players in calling for accountability at the league level amid widespread allegations of misconduct.

In an interview with NBC News on Sunday, the two demanded change days after The Athletic reported on former players accusing Paul Riley of sexual coercion and emotional abuse and the North Carolina Courage fired Riley in response.

“I definitely think it’s systemic and no one in a position of power that is supposed to protect us and do the right thing has righted the ship,” Zerboni said on the show. “We need more structured standards, policy, background checks. We need to be treated with basic human rights.”

McLeod echoed Zerboni’s remarks, calling people who knew of the abuse “complicit.”

“We need to make change and get rid of those people,” she said.

McLeod added that the misconduct former NWSL players Sinead Farrelly and Mana Shim detailed to The Athletic isn’t new.

“They came forward in 2015 saying exactly what they did in that article,” McLeod said. “What are we saying to young players, 12 or 13 years old, about what we are going to allow to happen to our athletes in this country? That’s unforgivable.”

On Sunday, the NWSL announced a “commitment to systemic transformation” in a season where multiple coaches have been accused of misconduct. NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird resigned from her position on Friday as the league continues to deal with the fallout. FIFA and US Soccer have both launched investigations into the allegations.

The league did not play any games over the weekend as they begin to address the systemic issues at hand.