It also complicated any collective action players wanted to take. Members of the women’s national team who play in the NWSL are not paid by their individual clubs, but by the United States Soccer Federation and are therefore subject to the collective agreement signed with US Soccer. Under that agreement, players cannot participate in any strike or work stoppage, a clause that would also apply to their employment with the NWSL.
But players never needed to initiate a formal work stoppage once the league, belatedly recognizing the urgency of the crisis, called off games.
The scandal had been growing for weeks. One NWSL team fired their coach in late August “for good cause” and another fired their coach earlier this week after an investigation into his treatment of his players. The incident that led to Friday’s announcement occurred on Thursday morning, when Athletic published an article That included allegations that Riley forced a player to have sex with him; forced two players to kiss and then sent them unsolicited sexual photos; and yelled and belittled the players.
Athletic also reported that Riley was fired from his head coaching job with the Portland Thorns, arguably the league’s most popular team, in 2015, in part due to violations of team policy, but then did nothing to warn. to the players when another team quickly rehired him.
Riley denied most of the allegations to The Athletic and did not respond to a request for comment from The New York Times. Hours after the allegations against him were published Thursday morning, he was fired.
The anger of the players had been mounting. On Tuesday, the NWSL concluded an investigation into another team, the Washington Spirit. The league did not release a detailed report of its findings, but Announced that Spirit coach Richie Burke had been fired and would no longer be allowed to work at the NWSL
Just a few weeks earlier, a third coach, Christy Holly, the head coach of Racing Louisville, was fired for good cause, and Alyse LaHue, the general manager of Gotham FC, was fired for an unspecified violation of league policy. . Holly has not spoken publicly about her firing and LaHue’s attorney has denied she violated league policies.