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ISC statement on recent incidents regarding racial discrimination around NWSL

The Independent Supporters Council and our members feel compelled to address two separate events surrounding the opening weekend of the NWSL Challenge Cup. These events clearly illustrate the need for prompt action to address and end systemic racial issues that are publicly surfacing with the NWSL.

We condemn the racist treatment of Chicago Red Stars’ Sarah Gorden and her boyfriend by BBVA stadium security following the match in Houston, TX on April 9. The threat of arrest against a Black man in America has too often ended tragically. Unfortunately, this is not the first time a Black player, their friends, and family have felt unsafe at an NWSL venue due to the inherent intimidation factor of security presence, inconsistent policy enforcement, and racial bias on the part of stadium personnel.

In addition, we urge NWSL clubs to be conscious of the words they choose and the potential for harm they may cause. On April 9, the Portland Thorns posted a tweet that was intended to support one of their players. In context, however, the post took on a racially charged tone by putting a white player in the position of being the 'innocent' victim at the hands of a Black player. The consequences of a post that helps reinforce the discriminatory stereotype of an angry, aggressive Black woman can–and did–incite racist harassment. Impact outweighs intent.

We call on the National Women’s Soccer League and each club to review their protocols–especially relating to security–and amend and/or remove policies that could put BIPOC players and fans in dangerous situations. The NWSL and its clubs must take on the responsibility of progressing as a league and to stop failing its Black players. The ISC will continue to stand by the Black players of the NWSL and work to hold both the League and clubs accountable.


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