Three women’s soccer matches across the US witnessed scenes described as ‘incredible’, as players from the National Women’s Soccer League (NSWL) joined in the center circle to protest against sexual abuse allegations. Read Full Article at RT.com

Three women’s soccer matches across the US witnessed scenes described as ‘incredible’, as players from the National Women’s Soccer League (NSWL) joined in the center circle to protest against sexual abuse allegations.

The first took place in a match between NJ/NY Gotham FC and the Washington Spirit, which eventually ended in a 0-0 draw.

The sixth minute was chosen to perform the act, as it represented the six years it allegedly took for two female stars to be heard with their complaints.

Forming a circle, the protestors were given a standing ovation as some fans brandished signs with messages such as: “Protect our players” and “I’m speechless.”

No words, only tears. Thank you @nwsl_players ❤️ https://t.co/en5ooUXzCF

— Mana Shim (@meleanashim) October 7, 2021

Truly incredible moment: In 6th minute of first NWSL game back after sexual abuse allegations, play stops, benches clear, both teams link arms in center circle. @nwsl_players explain “6th minute is to mark 6 years it took for the players to be heard” 💪 pic.twitter.com/pIq1HPsewf

— roger bennett (@rogbennett) October 6, 2021

Last week, controversy engulfed the women’s game in the US after an investigative report alleged that now-former North Carolina Courage coach Paul Riley used his power and influence to sexually harass players.

In one incident, the married Riley allegedly coerced Sinead Farrelly into his hotel room where they are said to have had sex.

In another, Riley allegedly coerced Farrelly and a teammate, Mana Shim, to his apartment and pressured them into kissing each other. 

The Athletic, which carried out the report, was told by Riley that the players’ claims are “completely untrue”.

“I have never had sex with, or made sexual advances towards these players,” he insisted.

Still, the allegations caused a domino effect that started with Riley losing his job.

This is not business as usual. #NoMoreSilence pic.twitter.com/9GKkZW09g3

— NWSLPA (@nwsl_players) October 6, 2021

NSWL commissioner Lisa Baird resigned too, and all of the matches that were scheduled for last weekend were postponed.

Steve Baldwin, ex-CEO and managing partner of the Washington Spirit, stepped down on Tuesday, with a Twitter statement mentioning a request by his own players as part of the motive for resigning plus “concerns about the Spirit’s workplace culture and our prior coach’s conduct”.

On Wednesday, the Spirit were one of the first teams to engage in the protest through linked arms, which cleared both benches and lasted a minute before the resumption of play, while an identical act took place in the clash between the Courage and Racing Louisville FC.

“No words, only tears. Thank you, NWSLPA,” wrote Shim on Twitter while sharing footage of the scenes at Subaru Park.

Similar scenes during this North Carolina Courage v Racing Louisville game.

So much bigger than the sport. We stand with the players of the NWSL. #NWSL #ProtectThePlayers https://t.co/mCNU41cMXx pic.twitter.com/QnUOw3DlxC

— Women’s Sports Alliance (@WSportsAlliance) October 6, 2021

Dash and Thorns players gather at midfield in the sixth minute. It took six years for NWSL players’ concerns about sexual coercion to be taken seriously.

On the broadcast, Kaylyn Kyle: “Paul Riley wasn’t fired for what he did. He got fired because we found out ” pic.twitter.com/f0b5YNhZPg

— Corey Roepken (@RipSports) October 7, 2021

The third and final protest was seen in the Portland Thorns FC and Houston Dash’s meeting.

As the Thorns announced amid a joint player statement, the home team’s general manager Gavin Wilkinson was placed on administrative leave as the club awaits the pending results of an outside, independent and ongoing investigation.

During the broadcast for the game, analyst Kaylyn Kayle quipped that: “Paul Riley wasn’t fired for what he did. He got fired because we found out.”

🗣‼️ This is enough #NoMoreSilence pic.twitter.com/fHMjFVAOGO

— “Rocky” Rodríguez (@raque_rocky) October 7, 2021

CLUB STATEMENT:

Effectively immediately, Portland Thorns FC have placed general manager/president of soccer Gavin Wilkinson on administrative leave from Thorns duties pending the results of the outside independent investigation, which is ongoing.

— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) October 7, 2021

In its own statement, the NWSL Players Association confirmed that matches would resume on Wednesday while using the hashtag #NoMoreSilence.

“We have taken the weekend’s pause to evaluate,” the organization said.

“We acknowledge that we will not process the pain of the last several days in one weekend or one week.

“In the midst of statements that leagues and clubs are quick to release, we have been listening to ourselves, and to one another,” it finished.

Before kick off, the NSWLPA also made a list of demands moving forward which were published on social media.

Among the eight lengthy bullet points was the insistence that “every coach, General Manager, representative on the Board of Governors, and owner voluntarily submit to the Players Association’s independent investigation into abusive conduct” by the close of business next Wednesday.

pic.twitter.com/hV707AAa56

— NWSLPA (@nwsl_players) October 6, 2021

pic.twitter.com/NhsagA6Y1k

— NWSLPA (@nwsl_players) October 6, 2021

Furthermore, they also want the NWSL to agree that representatives of the Players Association will have the opportunity to meet with potential candidates to become the new commissioner, and “have a meaningful opportunity to be heard” in the selection process.

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By RT

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