Gotham FC and Washington Spirit players forced a sixth-minute stoppage to their match Wednesday night. After a Brighton player underwent arrest for the same reasons (football news), NWSL players stopped mid-play to protest sexual abuse.
North Carolina head coach Paul Riley, part of the National Women’s Soccer League, was recently fired amid sexual coercion accusations.
Then, subsequently, NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird resigned amid calls she didn’t properly handle abundant warnings about Riley’s alleged behavior.
And these developments have put into full focus the scope of player protection shortcomings in the women’s football game.
Absolutely blown away 😭. Tears and chills watching this happen. My heart goes out to every single player-former and current- who has lived through this culture of silence. We are demanding change and we are not going away. https://t.co/0dm9UDbb2Y
— Sinead Farrelly (@lord__shin) October 7, 2021
Victims publicly sharing their stories in the U.S. over the past few weeks have inspired athletes in other countries. So, as it happens, several other athletes have stepped forward about their sexual abuse experiences as well.
Football News – NWSL Players Stopped Mid-play to Protest Sexual Abuse
Women footballers from both teams, Gotham FC and Washington Spirit, halted their clash to stand together to condemn sexual assault.
Gotham FC and Washington Spirit players have come together mid-match to protest sexual abuse in the women's game.pic.twitter.com/3IqpCy5MX8
— Goal (@goal) October 6, 2021
They linked arms in the middle of the field in protest of alleged rampant sexual abuse in the NWSL.
What’s more, in further heartening news, teams in the evening’s other games plan to take the same action. Players from the North Carolina Courage vs Racing Louisville and Portland Thorns vs Houston Dash clashes will also voice protests.
Indeed, NWSL players in every match on Wednesday night will stop play in the sixth minute. They intend to come together at the center and form a circle of solidarity by holding hands.
So, Gotham and Washington players kicked off protests, with the two other games taking place later on to follow suit.
Gotham FC player Domi Richardson told CBS: “The NWSL players reclaim their place on the field to honor victims and inspire and strengthen others. This isn’t business as usual. We will not be silent.”
The NWSL Players Association also released a statement on Wednesday night announcing demands to the league. These demands address its investigations into player treatment and protection.
“We will be relentless in our pursuit of a league that deserves the players in it,” wrote the organization.
— NWSLPA (@nwsl_players) October 6, 2021