The Rose City Riveters, Timbers Army and 107IST published today a list of demands to the Portland Timbers and Thorns Front Office. The supporters’ groups have called members to boycott concessions in Providence Park and all PTFC official merchandise.
The supporters’ groups have expressed their disgust of the PTFC Front Office’s handling of Paul Riley’s alleged sexual coercion and abuse of players during his time as head coach of the Portland Thorns. They are also disappointed with club owner Merritt Paulson’s recently released statement and the lack of concrete action outlined.
The statement made it very clear how the supporters’ group felt about the Front Office’s handling of the initial situation in 2015, stating, “the Portland Thorns organization is complicit in the NWSL’s failures by actively sweeping incidents and complaints under the rug and passing issues off to others without holding offenders accountable. It is also abundantly evident that the PTFC leadership team knew about the incidents when they were reported in 2015. This is inexcusable.”
The statement went on to detail that the boycott of concessions and official merchandise will continue until the groups’ demands are met and any other additional demands shared by the NWSL Players Association or players.
The list of demands was headlined with the immediate dismissal of general manager Gavin Wilkinson from the PTFC organization, including the youth academies. The other demands are detailed below:
- Implement a transparent and proactive safety, training, and accountability plan that is approved by the players.
- Create an executive-level Diversity Officer position, which will be filled by a candidate with more than 10 years of DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) experience and a proven track record of building and implementing an organizational inclusion roadmap.
- Demonstrate transparency that players’ voices will be prominent in the hiring of the next Thorns coach — and any future coaches — as well as information about who will be responsible for background checks and vetting of any new staff.
- Hire separate general managers for the Thorns and the Timbers.
- Create a Club Culture and Player Liaison position for each team whose sole purpose is to mentor and support players from the academy on up. This role should also help transition any new players when they are signed.
- Disclose who has been secured to complete the new investigation of the 2015 events and subsequent investigation.
- Influence the league’s fulfillment of the NWSLPA demands and take local action to satisfy these demands, including immediate suspension of any staff member who violated the current anti-harassment policy or failed to report the alleged violation.
The Rose City Riveters, Timbers Army, and 107IST encouraged supporters and fans to donate the money they would have spent at the stadium to the NWSLPA, which can be done here.
The groups also encourage fans to continue their “loud and visible” support for the players. They also asked that fans attending matches at Providence Park wear red in solidarity with the Thorns players and bring signs that support the players and demand change.
The full statement can be viewed here.
The Portland Thorns take on the Houston Dash tomorrow in Providence Park. Kickoff is slated for 7 PM PST.