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NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird Resigns amid Paul Riley Allegations

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIOctober 2, 2021

Bryan Byerly/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Lisa Baird resigned as commissioner of the National Women's Soccer League on Friday. 

Meg Linehan of The Athletic first reported Baird had been let go. 

National Women’s Soccer League @NWSL

<a href="https://t.co/rDtfhpZKSV">pic.twitter.com/rDtfhpZKSV</a>

The news comes one day after Linehan and The Athletic's Katie Strang revealed former players' accusations of sexual coercion against ex-North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley "spanning multiple teams and leagues since 2010."

Per Linehan, it is unknown at this time who will take over as commissioner and general counsel.

The Courage fired Riley earlier this week and released this statement:

NC Courage @TheNCCourage

Official statement from the players, staff and principal owner the North Carolina Courage. <a href="https://t.co/jsY2GtXU9Y">pic.twitter.com/jsY2GtXU9Y</a>

The NWSL also announced that this weekend's matches have been canceled in light of the allegations. Baird released the following statement.

"This week, and much of this season, has been incredibly traumatic for our players and staff, and I take full responsibility for the role I have played. I am so sorry for the pain so many are feeling. Recognizing that trauma, we have decided not to take the field this weekend to give everyone some space to reflect. Business as usual isn’t our concern right now."

Many people expressed their support for the players who accused Riley of sexual coercion, including United States women's national team and Orlando Pride striker Alex Morgan:

Alex Morgan @alexmorgan13

Mana and Sinead, we support you and are in your corner. I am sickened and have too many thoughts to share at this moment. Bottom line: protect your players. Do the right thing <a href="https://twitter.com/NWSL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NWSL</a> <a href="https://t.co/7TGymLLrvn">https://t.co/7TGymLLrvn</a>

Morgan also called the league out for fielding the accusations but failing to investigate anything about them.

Alex Morgan @alexmorgan13

(1/3)The league was informed of these allegations multiple times and refused multiple times to investigate the allegations. The league must accept responsibility for a process that failed to protect its own players from this abuse. <a href="https://t.co/KDRBhhVBcT">https://t.co/KDRBhhVBcT</a>

Alex Morgan @alexmorgan13

(3/3) <a href="https://t.co/BkGlHsPiV4">pic.twitter.com/BkGlHsPiV4</a>

The NWSLPA also released a statement as well.

NWSLPA @nwsl_players

SYSTEMIC ABUSE PLAGUING THE NWSL MUST NOT BE IGNORED <a href="https://t.co/WlhcWW7R8m">pic.twitter.com/WlhcWW7R8m</a>

The NWSL began play in 2013. Baird had been its commissioner since Feb. 2020.

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