CHICAGO – Since the release of the report by Sally Yates on Monday that detailed systemic emotional abuse and sexual misconduct in the National Women’s Soccer League, calls have continued for the ouster of the Chicago Red Stars owner.
Over the past few days, steps have been taken to make that happen, as Arnim Whisler’s power in the franchise continues to be taken away after the report found he didn’t take the proper steps to protect players after abuse allegations surfaced against former manager Rory Dames as early as 2014.
On Wednesday, the club’s board of directors removed Whisler immediately as Chairman of that board and arrange his removal from any further activities with the board or the club.
While this didn’t indicate a push or demand for Whisler to sell, the board later released this statement:
“The board wants to help facilitate a sale of Arnim’s shares in a timely process which is both prudent and when complete can lead Red Stars players, coaches, and front office staff to a better future.”
Calls for Whisler to sell the franchise have continued since the release of the report, which detailed how Whisler didn’t act promptly on abuse claims against Dames as early as 2014. In Yates’s report, it even says that Dames offered to resign that year after those complaints but the owner wouldn’t accept it.
The manager would resign following the 2021 season after accusations came to light in a Washington Post story.
Yates was also critical of the Red Stars’ cooperation with the investigation into the report.
“Despite receiving an initial request for documents from our investigation on December 13,
2021, the Red Stars did not make its first substantial production until May 6, 2022, and continued
to produce documents as recently as September 13, 2022,” said Yates on page 33 of the report. “In addition, the Red Stars initially sought to narrow the scope of our investigation by declining to produce documents beyond those relating directly to Rory Dames. The Red Stars have partially retreated from that position, but we have had to obtain documents from other cooperating sources to supplement their incomplete production.”
The full report from Yates can be read by clicking here.
At a Thursday news conference ahead of the United States women’s national team’s match against England Friday in London, Megan Rapinoe said that she doesn’t believe Whisler or Portland Thorns owner Merritt Paulson, who was also criticized in the report, are “fit” to remain in their positions in the NWSL.
“It’s unacceptable,” said Rapinoe when asked about accountability when it comes to the owners of Portland and Chicago. “It’s a privilege to be in a position around sports or be in one of those positions or to play a sport. It’s something that just lasts forever if you don’t appreciate it. None of those people have shown that they deserve to be around this beautiful game and have a right to be because they can’t even do the basic responsibilities of their job.
“I think for it just to signal to players that we’re being heard and we are being respected and the action is being taken.”