In October 2021, all of the Thorns players released a statement on social media that demanded accountability and transparency from the Portland Thorns front office and their role in the events that led to the abuse of Mana Shim and Sinead Farrelly. Meg Linehan of The Athletic broke the story.
The players demanded that former Thorns general manager and current Timbers general manager Gavin Wilkinson be put on administrative leave pending the results of an investigation, increased diversity in upper management, and a seat at the table for players to increase transparency and inner-organization cooperation.
The statement that the players released on social media provided an update regarding their initial statement released in October. Portland Thorns FC hired DLA Piper to conduct an internal business review of soccer operations. The players stated that they believe that the club facilitated the most thorough investigation that was legally possible. Current and former Thorns players were not allowed to be interviewed at the request of the NWSL and the NWSLPA. Players could choose to be interviewed when they are allowed to do so and the players were guaranteed that the investigation will be reopened.
The players wrote, “Based on the results of the investigation, we recognize the reinstatement of Gavin Wilkinson as President of Soccer.” The players went on to address their second and third demands which resulted in the club doing the following: adopting a confidential reporting system, engaging with a diversity and inclusion expert, and guaranteeing that the club takes part in yearly anti-harassment training.
The players went on to say that these are important first steps and the players look forward to building on the progress that the club has made.
The Thorns players also addressed the fans at the end of the statement saying:
“We truly appreciate your understanding as we all continue to work our way through a very emotional and complex situation. If we have one ask of you right now it would be this: please be respectful to all club employees, their friends and families. We understand that this situation is highly charged and deeply personal for everyone but let’s do our best to not make a difficult situation more painful. Finally, thank you for your support, you’re more essential than ever.