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Football

US women football league players pause matches to show solidarity against sexual misconduct

Footballers from the USA's National Women Soccer League stopped their play in the sixth minute of each of the games on Wednesday night to gather at the midfield and lock arms in solidarity of ongoing sexual misconduct and scandal that has rocked the league.

NWSL players pause matches to show solidarity (Source- Fox News)
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NWSL players pause matches to show solidarity (Source- Fox News)

By

The Bridge Desk

Published: 7 Oct 2021 4:09 AM GMT

Footballers from the USA's National Women Soccer League stopped their play in sixth minute of each of the games on Wednesday night to gather at the midfield and lock arms in solidarity of ongoing sexual misconduct and scandal that has rocked the league.

"Teams will stop play in each of tonight's games at the 6th minute. Players will join together in solidarity at the center circle for one minute in recognition of the 6 years it took for Mana, Sinead, and all those who fought for too long to be heard," the NWSLPA said in a statement. "We call on fans to stand in silence with us. During that time, we ask you to stand in that pain and discomfort with us, as we consider what too many of us have been asked to sit with for too long.

"We call on you to consider, in that minute, what is demanded of each of us to reclaim our league and our sport."

Last week, former NWSL players Sinead Farrelly and Mana Shim told The Athletic detailing the trauma they experienced while playing under now-former North Carolina Courage coach Paul Riley on NWSL clubs including Western New York and the Portland Thorns.

Riley was immediately fired, and in response the NWSLPA released a statement demanding the league conduct an independent investigation, noting that the "systemic abuse plaguing the NWSL must not be ignored."

Among other things, he allegedly made a player sit on his lap during a car ride and later coerced her into having sex with him, and allegedly made two players kiss to prevent the team from running extra laps.

On Friday, Lisa Baird was shown the exit door as the NWSL commissioner. That move came hours after the NWSL called off its games this weekend at the request of players.

As play resumed Wednesday night, the NWSLPA also listed a number of demands for the league moving forward.

Later Wednesday night, the Portland Thorns announced that general manager Gavin Wilkinson was placed on administrative leave pending the results of an independent investigation. Wilkinson also serves as general manager of Major League Soccer's Portland Timbers.


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