December 9, 2023

Allegations of abuse in American women's football

Allegations of abuse in American women’s football


After an abuse scandal, the most famous American football player said: “Burn everything”

Women’s soccer in crisis: Major League Soccer Director Lisa Bird has resigned after allegations of mistreatment of several coaches. And the professional league, founded in 2012, is in ruins. The avatar, Megan Rapinoe, also speaks unmistakably.

Megan Rapinoe (with outstretched arm) is one of the iconic figures in the NBA. It fights the power structure in the league.

David Vincent/AFP

In fact, NWSL was considered a success story. Founded in 2012 after two failed professional soccer leagues in America, the Women’s National Football League has found a niche in the country where soccer is still dominated by soccer. Small niche, but at least a niche. Top players like Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd made sure the tournament was also played on television, albeit at ridiculous times. The tournament final, scheduled for November 20 in Portland, Oregon, will kick off at 9 a.m. The stadiums where the ten teams are currently playing were well occupied.

Female athletes subjected to sexual assault and collective harassment

But now it turns out: Behind the scenes, the home league’s blessing has been twisted for a long time. Professional gamers, who earn tens of thousands of dollars annually, are subjected to sexual assault and mass harassment behind closed doors. A coach forced a female soccer player to have intercourse, kissed others without asking, and emailed sexually offensive pictures. Others made racist jokes and yelled at an African-American player for so long and so persistently that she finally told the Washington Post, “He made me hate football.”

The league chief looked away

The league followed the events for a long time. The NFL president, who, as is customary in American sports life, has the strange nickname “Commissioner,” knew that there was a toxic atmosphere on the training ground and in the locker rooms. But she did not interfere. It was only when The Athletic, an online platform for those in love with the sport, reported this week about the allegations against coach Paul Riley, that the ball finally started to roll.

Born in England, he was a coach for the NWSL North Carolina Courage until his release last week. The accusation leveled against the head coach twice: In his long career as a football coach, he sexually harassed or abused female players. Riley, 62, denies the allegations. His training license has been suspended.

The league coach has long been aware of the circumstances

After the dismissal, the NWSL Players Association, a type of professional footballers’ union, made a tough statement. And it soon became clear that NFL commissioner Lisa Bird couldn’t stand it — because footballers like Sinead Farrelly brought her attention to coach Riley’s misconduct years ago.

And Bird renewed, Friday, the assertion that the leadership of the league has always defended football players. I also apologized. But in the end, their apology was just a fight back. A few hours later, Bird announced her resignation in a brief statement. The International Football Association (FIFA) and the national football organization, US Soccer, have announced independent investigations into the events of the Women’s League.

All weekend matches canceled – the league needs to be radically restructured

Now NWSL is in ruins. All games scheduled for the weekend have been canceled or postponed. Internal critics are calling for a drastic restructuring of the league before they want to play again. “Burn everything,” Megan Rapinoe wrote on Twitter, “we have to destroy everything.” This advice is directed against the power structure of the women’s league: here are the wealthy owners of football clubs and the male coaches, there are the players who are looking for targets for pay starvation.

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