Ex-NWSL coach slams league as ‘woke’ after being banned for life

Former North Carolina Braves coach Paul Riley, who was banned from the National Women’s Soccer League on Monday after multiple investigations into sexual harassment and misconduct, called the league “political” and “woke.”

Riley was one of four coaches permanently suspended from the league in a statement on Monday.

Riley said he plans to fight “a lot of things,” and even though he’s permanently out of the league, he never wants to come back.

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North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley speaks with the team after their win over Portland Thorns FC in the quarterfinals of the NWSL Challenge Cup at Zions Bank Stadium on July 17, 2020 in Herriman, Utah. .

North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley speaks with the team after their win over Portland Thorns FC in the quarterfinals of the NWSL Challenge Cup at Zions Bank Stadium on July 17, 2020 in Herriman, Utah. .
(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

“We have a lot of plans to fight a lot of things,” Riley told WRAL News on Tuesday. “He has absolutely no intention of ever coaching in the NWSL again. The politics, the vigilance, the undoing of the culture of the league is telling.”

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What exactly Riley is fighting has yet to be determined.

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The NWSL’s Joint Investigation Team found that the misconduct was “largely systemic in nature” and made “recommendations on a number of revisions and structures to improve policing and behavior in the league.”

As a result, NWSL president Jessica Berman announced the four permanent suspensions as well as the suspensions of coaches Craig Harrington and Alyse LaHue and more.

“The league will continue to prioritize the implementation and promotion of policies, programs and procedures that protect the health and safety of our players,” Berman said in the statement. “These actions are fundamental to the future of our league, especially as we build a league that strengthens the ability of our players to succeed and thrive on and off the field. It’s a step in the right direction for some of the organizations and individuals identified in the Report.” Joint Investigation is appropriate and necessary.”

In Riley’s case, a preliminary report by U.S. Justice Department official Sally Yates was released in October that found he had alleged harassment and sexual misconduct dating back to 2015 during his time as a teacher. from Portland, Oregon.

Both the Yates report and the Joint Investigative Team’s report said the NC Braves were not aware of the full extent of Riely’s actions before he was hired in 2017.

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Two former Portland Thorns players called him a “predator,” according to WRAL News, while another player called him a “culture of fear.”

The Braves were also fined $100,000 and must hire a different crew than their male teammates.

“We stand firmly with the league, the NWSL Players Association and other teams in keeping the safety and well-being of our players as our highest priority,” the union said in a statement on Monday.

Paul Riley during the 2020 NWSL College Draft at the Baltimore Convention Center on January 16, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Paul Riley during the 2020 NWSL College Draft at the Baltimore Convention Center on January 16, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland.
(Photo by Jose Argueta/ISI/Getty Images)

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Five of the NWSL’s 10 coaches last season were either fired or dismissed for misconduct. Commissioner Lisa Baird also resigned, making way for Berman.

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