Former North Carolina Courage coach Paul Riley, who was ousted from the Women’s National Soccer League on Monday after multiple investigations into alleged harassment and sexual misconduct, called the league «political» and «woke.»
Riley was among four coaches who received a permanent ban from the league in a statement released Monday.
Riley says he plans to fight «a lot of things» and despite his permanent ban from the league, he never wants to return.
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«We have a lot of plans ahead to fight a lot of things,» Riley told WRAL News on Tuesday. «I absolutely never intended to return to coaching in the NWSL. The league’s wake-up-and-cancel political culture says it all.»
It has yet to be determined what exactly Riley is fighting against.
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The NWSL Joint Investigative Team found that the misconduct was «largely systemic in nature» and made «recommendations regarding various forward-thinking and structural reforms to improve league policies and practices.»
As a result, NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman announced the four permanent bans and suspensions of coach Craig Harrington and Alyse LaHue. and much more.
“The league will continue to prioritize the implementation and improvement of policies, programs and systems that put the health and safety of our players first,” Berman said in the statement. «Those actions are critical to the future of our league, especially as we build a league that strengthens our players’ ability to succeed and thrive on and off the field. As part of our commitment to accountability and deterrence, the The league has determined that further corrective action with respect to certain organizations and individuals identified in the Joint Investigative Report is appropriate and necessary.»
In Riley’s case, an earlier report by US Department of Justice official Sally Yates was released in October, finding that he had alleged sexual harassment and misconduct dating back to 2015 during his time as a coach at Portland, Oregon.
Both the Yates report and the Joint Investigative Team report said NC Courage was unaware of the full extent of Riely’s actions before hiring him in 2017.
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Two former Portland Thorns players called it «a predator,» according to WRAL News, while another player called it a «culture of fear.»
The Courage was also fined $100,000 and must hire separate staff from men’s tea, which is under the same ownership group.
«We strongly support the league, the NWSL Players Association and other clubs in making player safety and well-being our top priority,» the organization said in a statement Monday.
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Five of the NWSL’s 10 head coaches last season were fired or resigned amid allegations of misconduct. Commissioner Lisa Baird also resigned, making way for Berman.