NewsSep 30, 2021

MLSPA Statement on NWSL Player Abuse

On behalf of all MLS Players, the MLSPA applauds Sinead Farrelly and Meleana Shim for coming forward with their stories. It took extraordinary courage for them to do so. The MLSPA stands with them and with all players who have had to face abuse, and hopes that the publication of their story will help them on their journey to heal from their experiences and find peace. We also echo their and the NWSLPA’s demands for the NWSL to take immediate steps to make sure that its players are safe.

It seems as though a day doesn’t go by without another story internationally about players being abused - in this case psychologically and sexually, but also often racially and economically. The frequency of these stories is made even more frightening by the reality that the stories that become public are only the tip of the iceberg in comparison to those that go unreported.

It is a fundamental truth in sports that the players are the game. Without them, there is no game. Yet time after time those who work in the management of the game fail to act to protect players or even to treat them with common decency and respect. This needs to change. Players everywhere need to follow the example and the courage of the women of the NWSLPA and the USWNTPA in rising up and demanding to be treated fairly.

It is long past time for our sport’s global bodies and administrators to implement real change in the way that the game is managed. Management has no problem holding players accountable for their actions. Transparency and accountability should also be the rules, and not the exception, for management. The personal needs and desires of the individuals who “run” the game should not continue to be allowed to dictate how the game operates.

Enough is enough. The players are the game.