Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and a whole host of stars from the U.S. women's national team and the NWSL have made their anger heard following the sexual harassment allegations aimed at Paul Riley, the now sacked head coach of the North Carolina Courage.
A detailed report from the Athletic on Thursday saw Sinead Farrelly and Meleana Shim both accuse Riley of luring them into sexual encounters. The pair said the coach made them kiss in exchange for avoiding a team exercise and Farrelly said she was coerced into having sex with him multiple times.
Riley denied all allegations to the Athletic, dubbing them "completely untrue". However, several hours after the report emerged, the North Carolina Courage sacked the 58-year-old.
What has been said?
Rapinoe took to Twitter on Thursday to voice her support for Shim and Farrelly, while also condemning the league for its failure to act, with the latter having filed a complaint about Riley way back in 2015.
"Mana and Sinead you are so strong and we are with you," Rapinoe tweeted. "To everyone in a position of power who let this happen, heard it and dismissed it, signed off on this monster moving to another team [with] zero repercussions, F*CK YOU, you’re all monsters and can ALL hand your resignations in immediately."
The NWSL released a statement, with Lisa Baird, the NWSL Commissioner, saying that she was "shocked and disgusted to read the new allegations".
"We are implementing a new anonymous reporting process, whereby players, team and league staff may text concerns to the league, which will be promptly investigated. We ask our players and all associated with the league to raise their concerns to us, as we continue to make our league a safe, positive, and respectful environment for our players, clubs, staff, and fans."
Morgan then responded to the statement by sharing an email exchange between Farrelly and Baird. "The league was informed of these allegations multiple times and refused multiple times to investigate the allegations," she wrote. "The league must accept responsibility for a process that failed to protect its own players from this abuse."
The screenshots Morgan shared showed Farrelly asking to understand why Riley was able to join another club after an investigation into her allegations in 2015 saw him removed from his job with the Portland Thorns.
Baird responded: "We reviewed our files and I can confirm that the initial complaint was investigated to conclusion. Unfortunately, I cannot share any additional details." That is despite Baird closing the email by saying she is "committed to ensuring" processes within the NWSL are "transparent, accessible to players and, most importantly effective".
USWNT captain Becky Sauerbrunn also offered support to the players who have spoken out, while deeming the NWSL's current position as "unacceptable", with Riley's sacking just the latest in a string of incidents in the league.
Meghan Klingenberg of the Portland Thorns described it as "enraging" that the league knew about Riley's allegations and allowed him to be rehired. "It's heartbreaking thinking of the women who may be in the same situation of abuse right now due to the league's inaction," she added.
The NWSL Players' Association has since released a statement and demanded three things from the NWSL, with a deadline of Friday 1 October: an independent investigation into claims against Riley; any staff accused of conduct or any mandated reporter who did not report the alleged violation to be suspended pending the results of that investigation; and for the league to disclose how Riley was able to be rehired despite allegations.
More damning claims for the NWSL
After Thursday's report, Denmark international Nadia Nadim also took to Twitter to accuse the NWSL of doing nothing when a club forged her signature to benefit from a trade within the league.
The forward, who currently plays for Racing Louisville, wrote: "When I signed for Sky Blue, I got told that we had to sign 1+1 per league rules, but me, my agent and my Danish club got [it] confirmed that option would never be executed. My agent got a mail that confirmed it. I was told that I was free to sign anywhere after that year, in the USA or anywhere else.
"After my contract was supposed to be finished, we started talks with Thorns FC. I wanted to sign there and I was a free player. After we negotiated a while, NWSL reached out to my agent saying the rights belong to Sky Blue.
"Sky Blue presented the "evidence" to NWSL that they sent the execution of [the] option year to my mail. Only problem is that it was not sent to my mail. The e-mail they presented was not mine. And as they sent several to me, they had my correct one.
"Then they showed a signed paper where I had accepted/received the option extension. Only problem is that the signature (real - not electronic) was 1) not mine and 2) dated when I was in Algarve (PORTUGAL!) with the national team. NWSL did not even want to listen to us. Thorns ended up [sacrificing] a lot to sign me."
Nadim also detailed how, after she did her ACL earlier this year, the league had told her that she could not have surgery outside of the U.S. and that they could "consider taking actions" against her if she did. "They told me that the risk of losing a player like me could mean a big loss of income for the league," she wrote.
The NWSL has not yet responded to Nadim's comments.