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Archive for January 10, 2023

Jan. 10, 2023 — How to respond

Yesterday, the National Women’s Soccer League did something that you are unlikely to see in Major League Baseball, U.S. Soccer, and the NCAA, if you go by what these three bodies did in response to recent domestic violence allegations.

The league brought down the hammer, banning four former coaches — Rory Dames, Paul Riley, Christy Holly and Richie Burke — who were central figures in multiple investigations and findings regarding sexual abuse in America’s top domestic women’s soccer league.

The bans were for life. Not an indefinite ban, not one involving a time period, or any condition.

For life.

“The league will continue to prioritize implementing and enhancing the policies, programs and systems that put the health and safety of our players first,” NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman said in a news release. “Those actions are fundamental to the future of our league, especially as we build a league that strengthens our players’ ability to succeed and prosper on and off the pitch. As part of our commitment to accountability and deterrence, 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.”

Six other figures — Craig Harrington, Alyse LaHue, Farid Bensititi, James Clarkson, Vera Pauw, Amanda Cromwell, Sam Greene, and Aline Reise — received conditional suspensions. Each were mentioned in either the Yates Report or the joint NWSL-NWSLPA investigation reports.

The punishments are not only clear and swift, but they are outliers when it comes to dealing with sexual assaults and abuse within sports.

Let’s hope that future actions like this aren’t seen as such.