Oct 6, 2021 - Sports

National Women's Soccer League set to resume amid turmoil

Chart showing NWSL standings.
Table: Jared Whalen/Axios

The NWSL is set to return Wednesday night to a radically different landscape than when players last took the field 10 days ago.

Catch up quick: Two coaches (Paul Riley, NC Courage; Richie Burke, Washington Spirit) were fired last week amid allegations of harassment and sexual coercion.

  • In both cases, players had previously reported the coaches' reprehensible behavior, only to see it swept under the rug.
  • Commissioner Lisa Baird resigned on Saturday, and all weekend games were postponed.

The latest: On Tuesday, USWNT and Orlando star Alex Morgan, alongside Mana Shim and Sinead Farrelly — Riley's primary accusers — sat down with "Today's" Savannah Guthrie for an interview.

  • "He's a predator," Shim said of Riley, who has denied all accusations. "He sexually harassed me. He sexually coerced Sinead, and he took away our careers."
  • Also on Tuesday, Spirit CEO Steve Baldwin resigned after 27 players signed a letter urging him to do so. Baldwin does, however, still own a controlling stake in the team.

What's next: The league has provided an anonymous hotline for players to report abuse, and has retained a law firm to conduct an investigation into what Morgan calls a league-wide problem.

  • Despite this off-field turmoil, play resumes Wednesday night as the regular season heads towards its Oct. 31 conclusion.
  • Wednesday's slate: Gotham FC vs. Spirit (7pm ET); Courage vs. Racing Louisville (7:30pm); Thorns vs. Dash (10pm).
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