MLS and NWSL sides the Portland Timbers and Thorns have fired two executives following a report about sexual abuse in the National Women’s Soccer League.
General manager Gavin Wilkinson and president of business Mike Golub were both named in the report, which was commissioned by the US Soccer Federation.
Portland Thorns and Timbers owner Merritt Paulson announced in a statement on Tuesday that he, Wilkinson, and Golub were removing themselves “from all Thorns-related decision making until the NWSL/NWSLPA Joint Investigation…is released.”
Wilkinson played a key role in concealing 2015 allegations of sexual harassment against then-head coach Paul Riley, allowing Riley to continue coaching in the league for six more years, the report found.
Golub is within the report as an executive that made sexual comments to former head coach and now current U.S. Soccer president, Cindy Parlow Cone.
The firings come one day after Thorns and U.S. women’s national team captain Becky Sauerbrunn told reporters that “every owner and executive and U.S. Soccer official who has repeatedly failed the players and failed to protect the players, who have hidden behind legalities, and have not participated fully in these investigations, should be gone.”
The club has named general counsel Heather Davis interim president of Peregrine Sports, overseeing business operations for both the Timbers and Thorns.
Sponsors were also reportedly re-evaluating their partnerships with the club in the wake of the report, which detailed new allegations of verbal, emotional and sexual misconduct at the highest levels of women’s soccer, and revealed that coaches, executives and NWSL team owners — including Paulson — “failed” countless players.