UltraViolet Slams National Women’s Soccer League for Turning a Blind Eye to Sexual Abuse

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, October 3, 2022
CONTACT: Anna Zuccaro | anna@unbendablemedia.com

UltraViolet Slams National Women’s Soccer League for Turning a Blind Eye to Sexual Abuse

UltraViolet urges further investigations into youth soccer programs, NWSL coaches, and league executives who ignored players seeking help

Earlier today, an investigative report commissioned by the United States Soccer Federation exposed rampant sexual misconduct, verbal abuse and emotional abuse by coaches in the National Women’s Soccer League.

In response, Bridget Todd, director of communications at UltraViolet, a leading national gender advocacy organization, issued the following statement:

“The findings from today’s investigatory report are both infuriating and disturbing. From women players being groomed and sexually abused by coaches, to the willful ignorance and inaction from league officials in response to reports of the abuse, the NWSL is failing women and girls across the country.

“Based on the reports findings, one of the main reasons sexual and emotional abuse is so rampant at the pro level in women’s soccer is because this toxicity begins in youth soccer. Many players are actually conditioned to expect toxic behavior and abuse before going pro. The implications of this harrowing reality, and the callously indifferent response from NWSL league officials and owners, are beyond measure.

“To be clear, given the report’s findings, we are skeptical of NWSL’s response, including claims they plan to implement some of the investigatory report’s recommendations. After years of covering up rampant sexual abuse, we are unsure US Soccer will do anything meaningful to address the insidious roots of these problems. While abuse in women’s soccer runs deeper than the NWSL, and will not be eliminated through changes in the NWSL alone, reform has to start somewhere.

“We now know that abusive coaches moved from team to team, with owners and league executives sanctioning PR stunts thanking these same coaches for their service. All the while, players with direct experience and knowledge of sexually abusive coaches’ misconduct were forced into silence. According to the report, NWSL and U.S. Soccer officials, as well as individual team owners and executives, were repeatedly made aware of complaints of inappropriate behavior but did nothing. This is completely unacceptable.

“We demand an investigation into youth soccer and further investigation into the NWSL officials, U.S. Soccer officials, individual team owners and executives who ignored the many players who cried for help . This kind of behavior is beyond the scope of unacceptable.”

“From fighting for equal pay to demanding accountability for abusers, we stand in solidarity with the players of the National Women’s Soccer League.”

In 2015, UltraViolet pressured FIFA to close the pay gap after the 2015 Women’s World Cup champions netted only $2 million for their win, while the winners of the 2014 men’s World Cup netted $35 million. In contrast, the US men’s team was awarded a whopping $8 million prize after losing in the Round of 16 in the 2014 World Cup. As part of the effort, more than 72,000 UltraViolet members signed onto a petition urging FIFA demanding equal pay for the
US Women’s National soccer team.

VIEW THE PETITION HERE: http://act.weareultraviolet.org/sign/fifa_women/

In 2019, UltraViolet targeted US Soccer demanding they enact an equal pay policy for men and women. Not long after, UltraViolet and members organized a petition delivery at US Soccer headquarters in Chicago, Illinois.

VIEW THE PETITION HERE: https://act.weareultraviolet.org/sign/us_soccer_equal_pay/

Earlier this year, UltraViolet resurfaced a TV ad from 2016 Olympics calling for the United States women’s soccer team to receive equal pay:

VIEW THE AD HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNRyHbbaeRM&feature=youtu.be
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