In 2018, Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson (right) and Gavin Wilkinson general manager/president of Timbers, and Thorns head coach Mark Parsons watch the Timbers play Seattle Sounders. (Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports)

Another shoe fell on Wednesday in wake of a scathing report of verbal abuse and sexual misconduct within the National Women’s Soccer League.

A day after Portland Thorns and Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson said that he would remove himself from all team-related decisions amid an investigation his teams, the teams fired president of soccer Gavin Wilkinson and president of business Mike Golub have been relieved of their duties with both clubs.

General counsel Heather Davis has been named interim president of Peregrine Sports, overseeing business operations for both the Timbers and Thorns.

Ned Grabavoy will remain as technical director and lead Timbers soccer operations, while Thorns general manager Karina LeBlanc will continue in her role leading the soccer operations of the women’s teams.

Paulson did nothing when former Thorns head coach Paul Riley inflicted verbal and emotional abuse and was involved in sexual misconduct during his two-year tenure with the team.

On Monday, a report and private investigation by Sally Yates and King & Spalding found that abuse in the National Women’s Soccer League was systemic and that verbal and emotional abuse and sexual misconduct occurred at multiple teams, was taken by several coaches and affected many players.

After he was fired by Portland, Riley became coach of the Western New York Flash, which moved to North Carolina and renamed the team the Courage. Riley’s misconduct continued with those teams. He directed the Flash to the NWSL championship in 2016 and the Courage to theh 2018 and 2019 titles.

On Wednesday, the Courage issued a statement about the investigation and report.

“The North Carolina Courage stand in full support of the players impacted by abusive behavior across our league,” the statement read. “We acknowledge our responsibility to continuously examine our organization and our role within the systemic problems in our sport, as described in the Yates report. The details and events are deeply disturbing, and action must be taken to ensure these types of occurrences are never again allowed to happen. The Courage commend the strength and bravery of those that have chosen to step forward to share their experiences.”

On Tuesday night, NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman issued a statement concerning thee Thorns and the Chicago Red Stars. Last season Chicago head coach Rory Dames resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations after his team reached the NWSL fina.

“The NWSL is supportive of the important steps taken by the Portland Thorns and Chicago Red Stars today. As the League continues to evaluate the Yates report, I want to assure you that we remain committed to implementing reform and disciplinary action, both as a result of the Yates Report and the NWSL/NWSLPA’s Joint Investigative Team’s findings,” Berman said. “The Joint Investigative Team is working towards concluding their report by the end of the year, and we will not interfere with that process, as the findings of that investigation will offer important input from our players. While it will take time, we are fully prepared to take the necessary steps to protect the health and safety of our players, staff and other stakeholders in order to create the League that our players, fans, partners and staff deserve and expect.

“We value the input of everyone who has participated in the joint investigation, or who might reach out to the investigators now. We continue to encourage all parties to engage with the Joint Investigative Team with any information relating to discrimination, harassment, abuse, retaliation or bullying towards players in the league. The Joint Investigative Team may be contacted at or you may reach out to the NWSL or NWSLPA directly or through any other club and league reporting channels.”