‘Burn it all down’: Megan Rapinoe sends furious message after women’s soccer coach accused of sexual misconduct

Paul Riley has denied the claims made against him by two former players

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Friday 01 October 2021 18:45
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NWSL and NC Courage sack coach Paul Riley following allegations

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World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe launched a furious attack on women’s soccer officials after a top coach was accused of sexual misconduct.

North Carolina Courage coach Paul Riley was fired by the club after former players claimed they had been sexually coerced by him going back a decade.

“Men, protecting men, who are abusing women. I’ll say it again, men, protecting men, who are ABUSING WOMEN. Burn it all down. Let all their heads roll,” Rapinoe tweeted.

And she added: “To everyone in a position of power who let this happen, heard it & dismissed it, signed off on this monster moving to another team w/zero repercussions, F*** YOU,” Rapinoe wrote on Twitter.

“You’re all monsters, & can ALL hand your resignations in immediately.”

The firing came after former NWSL players Sinead Farrelly and Mana Shim spoke about their experiences with Mr Riley with The Athletic.

Farrelly claims that the alleged harassment began in 2011 when she was a player with the Philadelphia Independence of the Women’s Professional Soccer League and continued when she joined the NWSL’s Portland Thorns.

She says that she was “under his control” and coerced into having sex with Mr Riley, who also allegedly made her kiss Shim in front of him at his apartment so the team would not have to do a grueling conditioning exercise.

The Thorns said that they were just hearing about the allegations for the first time.

Mr Riley told The Athletic that the claims made against him were “completely untrue”.

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

US women’s national team star Alex Morgan also took to Twitter to speak out against the NWSL.

“The league was informed of these allegations multiple times and refused multiple times to investigate the allegations. The league must accept responsibility for a process that failed to protect its own players from this abuse,” Morgan tweeted.

And former star midfielder Julie Foudy accused the NWSL of failing to protect its players.

“A league for women. Yet NWSL fails to protect women. And then tries to continue to sweep it under the rug. Support these players. Believe these players. Protect these players. Transparency, accountability NOW,” she tweeted.

NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird said she was “shocked and disgusted” at the allegations and had reported the claims to the US Center for SafeSport for investigation.

The league has also called off all games that were due to be played this weekend.

“A safe and secure work environment is a top priority for the league and its collective ownership. The league has in place a comprehensive anti-harassment/anti-discrimination policy,” she said in a statement.

“In addition, the league has mandated that league and team staff who regularly interact with players participate in training conducted by the US Center for SafeSport, and is further mandating background checks and additional screening for those same individuals,” she said.

“We are implementing a new anonymous reporting process, whereby players, team and league staff may text concerns to the league, which will be promptly investigated.

“We ask our players and all associated with the league to raise their concerns to us, as we continue to make our league a safe, positive, and respectful environment for our players, clubs, staff, and fans.”

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