Another disturbing investigative report was released on October 3, revealing years of abuse against female athletes. The report of more than 300 pages, commissioned by the The United States Soccer Federation and led by former United States Assistant Attorney General Sally Yates has revealed rampant abuse, including sexual misconduct, within the National Women’s Soccer League.
The NWSL is a professional soccer league made up of 12 Division 1 teams, with national team players from around the world.
The report focused specifically on former Racing Louisville coach Christy Holly, former Portland Thorns coach Paul Riley and former Chicago Red Stars coach Rory Dames. All three are men.
The summary states: “Our investigation revealed a league in which abuse and misconduct – verbal and emotional abuse and sexual misconduct – had become systemic, spanning multiple teams, coaches and victims. Abuse in the NWSL is rooted in a deeper culture of women’s football, starting with the youth leagues, which normalizes verbally abusive practices and blurs the lines between coaches and players. The full report is available at tinyurl.com/jurch75c.
United States Women’s National Team midfielder Lindsey Horan, a member of the Portland Thorns since 2016, told the media on October 7: “I also want to say it’s not just that. It’s not just the NWSL. It’s women’s football in general. These are women in general.
“We have these problems all over the world. It is a global and systemic problem. So I don’t want that to be the end of the story – this investigation has been brought forward, and we’re obviously grateful for that, but it’s taken way too long. This all dragged on incredibly, and I’m sitting here and I’m like, ‘It’s not done.’ It’s all over the world, and being a player in Europe right now, I know that. (ESPN, October 7)
Misogyny and capitalism
Horan said it best, describing the report as not just isolated to women’s football, but a global issue for women and gender oppressed people.
There’s the recent scandal within the National Basketball Association’s Phoenix Suns organization in September, when billionaire majority owner Robert Sarver was suspended for a year for racist and misogynistic behavior. He is selling the team due to pressure from prominent NBA players, corporate sponsors and within the Suns organization. (Read workers.org/2022/09/66767/)
And then there was the US gymnastics sexual abuse trial against Dr. Larry Nassar, who is serving multiple life sentences after being found guilty of sexually assaulting 150 female gymnasts.
At least 500 teenage and adult gymnasts were part of a civil lawsuit, explaining in graphic terms when, where and how they had been traumatized by this doctor, whose job it was to prepare these athletes for Olympic competition.
In December, the gymnasts agreed to a $380 million settlement from those who put Nassar in a position to abuse them – such as USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Michigan State University . (Read workers.org/2018/01/35215/)
A common theme in all three developments is that many survivors and victims, who attempted to speak to authorities about the emotional, physical and mental anguish they experienced, were initially met with either disdain or outright rejection. and simple.
Former NWSL officials did not cooperate with the investigation and actually protected coaches like Riley and Holly by reassigning them to other coaching positions.
It is capitalism that reinforces sexism, misogyny, racism and other ills of class society that must be eradicated, root and branch, to stop the vicious cycle of men using their positions of power to treat women and oppressed people as exploitable objects.
In the end, it was capitalism – a system that favors profit over human beings in all institutions, including sport – that let these players down and countless others.