Paulson Removes Himself As Thorns, Timbers CEO Amid NWSL Scandal

Paulson Removes Himself As Thorns, Timbers CEO Amid NWSL Scandal

Merritt Paulson removed himself as the CEO the Major League Soccer’s Portland Timbers and the National Women’s Soccer League’s Thorns Tuesday in the aftermath of a bombshell investigation that uncovered systemic emotional abuse and sexual misconduct in the NWSL.

The results of the independent investigation–commissioned by the U.S. Soccer Federation and led by former acting U.S. attorney general Sally Q. Yates and the law firm King & Spalding–said Paulson helped cover up sexual abuse and coercion allegations made against former Thorns coach Paul Riley during his time with the franchise in 2014 and ’15. The investigation began after former Thorns players Sinead Farrelly and Mana Shim came forward last September with accounts against Riley, who was fired from the North Carolina Courage after the allegations of misconduct were made public in The Athletic.

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