Eagan, Minnesota – USA President Curling says CEO Jeff Blush “acted in accordance with prioritizing athlete safety” during his tenure as the Women’s National Football League captain, as an investigation uncovered years of systemic emotional abuse and sexual misconduct.
The Curling Council met Monday after a report on the independent investigation into abuses in women’s soccer.
The football investigation found that Plush, who was a commissioner in the NFL from 2014 to 2017, was aware of allegations of sexual harassment and coercion against Portland Thorns coach Paul Riley, but did nothing to prevent Riley from continuing to coach in the league. Former acting US Attorney Sally Yates, who led the soccer investigation, said Plush did not respond to requests for an interview.
In a press release, the Curling Council said it would “move forward in a way that reviews the facts and prioritizes safety for all.”
Sarah Hirschland, chief executive of the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, sent a letter to staff saying the federation was in contact with USA Curling about the investigation.
“We understand that they are reviewing the findings of this investigation as well as the findings of their own investigation previously conducted” into Plush’s role in the NWSL, Hirschland wrote.
The USOPC has been forced into sweeping reforms in the wake of sexual assault scandals, including that of former US gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, who sexually assaulted hundreds of gymnasts.
“Our determination to make participation in the Olympic and Paralympic Games safe for all guides our work every day,” Hirschland said. “However, we know this work is never done.”
The soccer investigation report said Thorns player Manna Shim told Plush in 2015 of Riley’s progress and retaliation when she asked him to stop. Plush sent Shim’s email to US Soccer, but the league took no action against Riley.
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