The players of the Portland Thorns released a statement before their match today against the Houston Dash. In response, the club issued a statement at 6:37 p.m. PST that Gavin Wilkinson has been put on administrative leave pending the results of the ongoing outside independent investigation.
CLUB STATEMENT:— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) October 7, 2021
Effectively immediately, Portland Thorns FC have placed general manager/president of soccer Gavin Wilkinson on administrative leave from Thorns duties pending the results of the outside independent investigation, which is ongoing.
In their statement, the players detailed that they, “are devastated and heartbroken in learning of the horrifying events that occurred within the NWSL and the Portland Thorns’ role in those events.”
TOGETHER pic.twitter.com/tfLekMtSYU— Christine Sinclair (@sincy12) October 7, 2021
The players offered their support to Mana Shim, Sinead Farrelly, Kaiya McCullough, and all the players who have come forward to tell their stories. The players went on to thank the Portland fans and community for the support.
They believe that there is an opportunity for the club to learn from its failures while striving to set a standard for accountability and transparency in the NWSL. The players said that there are systemic issues that must be addressed in the club and the league.
The players demand that the investigations proceed immediately and that the Thorns’ general manager be placed on administrative leave until the investigation and ensuing processes conclude. They also called for an increase in the diversity of voices within the club’s board of directors. Finally, the players demand a seat at the table to “increase transparency, accountability, and cooperation between the players and the front office.”
This statement was released on the night the NWSL returned to action. The night’s protests started at Subaru Park when the Washington Spirit and NJ/NY Gotham FC stopped playing in the 6th minute of the match to come together, arm-in-arm, in the center circle for a moment of silence.
#ProtectThePlayers #NoMoreSilence pic.twitter.com/75UahP9ktv— Stumptown Footy (@StumptownFooty) October 6, 2021
The NWSL Players Association released a statement that can be read in the thread below, during the moment of silence.
This is not business as usual. #NoMoreSilence pic.twitter.com/9GKkZW09g3— NWSLPA (@nwsl_players) October 6, 2021