Portland Thorns Owner/CEO Merritt Paulson Steps Back

Portland Thorns FC owner and CEO Merritt Paulson has issued a statement in response to Monday's report on an investigation into allegations of abuse in the National Women's Soccer League, of which the Thorns were a primary focus. He’s removed himself and his two right hand men from "all Thorns-related decision making" until the final investigation is complete in November. Here's Paulson's full statement:

Yesterday’s Yates report unveiling was the darkest day I have experienced, and I know the same is true for everyone else who loves our team and our league. I know it was even harder and darker for those whose stories were shared publicly. I cannot apologize enough for our role in a gross systemic failure to protect player safety and the missteps we made in 2015. I am truly sorry.

Given the Thorns are about to enter the NWSL Playoffs, I have told the NWSL that I will be removing myself effective today from all Thorns-related decision making until the NWSL/NWSLPA Joint Investigation, which we are fully cooperating with, is released. Gavin Wilkinson and Mike Golub will also step aside. All Thorns-related decisions will now be handled by Heather Davis, Thorns General Counsel.

I very much appreciate your patience and believe it’s critical that the process play out with the Joint Investigation.

I love the Portland Thorns and women’s soccer, and am taking these steps with those interests in mind.

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