The NWSL — National Women’s Soccer League — has come under intense scrutiny amidst reports of sexual coercion and harassment from a team coach which spanned over the course of a decade.
The league has been infamous for highlighting some of the best female soccer players at a club level, names which include Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan. This past week the league came under fire when allegations of sexual coercion against the North Carolina Courage coach Paul Riley surfaced in an article written by The Athletic.
The article written by Meg Linehan highlighted that two players had decided to come forward and speak about what had happened to them back when they were coached by Riley at the Portland Thorns in 2015. Initially players simply wanted an investigation into what had happened yet the owners refused, saying that they would know if something were happening.
These players then took their worries to the higher ups of the league where they proceeded to do absolutely nothing regarding players’ claims.
Many players were too scared to go on the record because their name would be tied to this situation and might be the only thing that they were remembered by. Players were also fearful about the outcome that would ensue because previous leagues have folded due to the financial crisis.
Aside from the league superstars, these players do not make a lot of money and most of them have to find a second job to make ends meet, simply because they wanted to live out their dreams about being professional athletes.
The NWSL’s first and only priority was to protect the players at all cost yet did nothing, allowing the cycle of systematic abuse to continue. Had the people in power done their job this situation could have been a one time thing.
Since the incident first took place back in 2015, there has been a change of administration.
Many players thought that this would prompt change from the league and help the players be able to fully voice their concerns; however the administration proved that they only cared about the revenue that came from games.
These issues go beyond the sporting world yet it is apparent that the conditioning of women has been to be simply grateful for what they have accomplished and not question how things were run.
With the attention that has come to the NWSL, many investigations are underway including the United States Soccer Federation and FIFA. As of right now it is uncertain what will happen to the future of the league and what will happen to the players who have suffered greatly.
Going forward, higher-ups need to prioritize the safety and well-being of the players before anything else.