CHICAGO (CBS) – Chicago Red Stars head coach Rory Dames resigned just before a Washington Post report claiming Dames verbally and emotionally abused players on the women’s football team.
Ladies’ resignation also came shortly after the Red Stars lost the National Women’s Football League championship game to the Washington Spirit on Saturday.
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Dames’ resignation announcement – dated Sunday but posted early Monday – made no mention of abusive conduct.
“For 11 years, I have dedicated myself to helping make the Chicago Red Stars one of the best international clubs. As of today, I am refocusing my attention on my family and my future endeavors, and I am resigning my coaching position with the Chicago Red Stars, ”Dames said in the statement. “I would like to thank the Chicago Red Stars organization, the fans and the players I have had the opportunity to work with in their professional football careers. I can’t wait to see the Chicago Red Stars and NWSL continue to grow and evolve while supporting their players.
In Sunday’s statement, the team itself praised the Ladies’ leadership as a coach.
“Under Rory’s leadership, we have been a remarkably consistent and excellent club on the pitch,” the team said in the statement. “We are continually evaluating our team and our front office environment, and given the dynamic change underway in the league, it is time to begin the next chapter for the Red Stars with the search for new leadership for the team.”
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But on Monday, Washington Post writer Molly Hensley-Clancy reported that a review of the newspaper’s confidential interviews and files indicated that players have been accusing Dames of verbal and emotional abuse for years. Hensley-Clancy reported that this included “controlling, berating and humiliating players, and breaking the boundaries of the player-coach relationship.”
The Washington Post report said that instead of reporting their complaints to the NWSL, which has struggled to control the abusive behavior, the players have taken one step closer to the American Football Federation. Still, Dames remained in charge of the team until Sunday.
Seven players also told the Post that Dames had been emotionally abusive – and five of them sought to be traded or left the Red Stars, the newspaper reported.
The Post reported that former Red Stars player Christen Press was among those who accused Dames of emotionally abusing players, and she claimed in an official complaint reviewed by the newspaper that Dames “uses her power and his status as a coach to manipulate players and get closer to them. “
The newspaper reported that the press first reported the alleged conduct of Dames to then American football president Sunil Gulati and other American football officials. The press told the newspaper they remembered that Gulati dismissed her allegations and called his behavior – which Dames described as yelling at players in a way that amounted to “harassment” – was normal for a professional coach.
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Several players also criticized the way US Soccer conducted the investigation, the Post reported.