What’s going on in PTFC?

10/27/2021 3:47 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

[Originally published in the member newsletter, on October 13.]

Background information

Over the past month, our organization has been responding to reporting in The Athletic about events that occurred in 2015, when Mana Shim reported Paul Riley’s behavior to the PTFC leadership team, including Merritt Paulson, Gavin Wilkinson, and HR.

We also learned about how Wilkinson talked to Shim behind closed doors, essentially telling her to “just stick to soccer” and not be publically out and proud. Reporters have also confirmed that the Timbers/Thorns leadership had unexpected reactions to stories that told us about the whole player. Wilkinson has said that Shim’s claims are “bullshit” when initially asked for comment. He later walked back that comment.

Merritt Paulson’s open letter, posted three weeks ago, further demonstrated that the organization has yet to make concrete changes to address their past failures. While Wilkinson has been placed on administrative leave from the Thorns, per the players’ request, he is still performing his duties as GM for the Timbers. There have been no further updates from the organization in the past three weeks. This is unacceptable.

The Rose City Riveters Steering Committee, the Timbers Army Steering Committee, and the 107IST Board believe that the incident recounted by Shim describes a toxic culture and should not be ignored. This reporting calls into question the credibility our club has with future players and forces us to ask the question: Who else has been silenced or did not feel they could be their authentic selves here? We believe that systemic change is needed to restore the reputation of the club across both NWSL and MLS, and that Wilkinson needs to be terminated.

The 107IST’s mission is to support soccer in and around Portland, from the grassroots to the highest level. As such, we stand behind the players, and we believe that immediate and meaningful action is necessary for our club to thrive. Soccer is more than a sport: It’s a community of people who collectively pour their blood, sweat, tears, and passion into something they love. We have learned that there are players whose safety and identity was threatened, and players who continue to fear retaliation. As supporters of PTFC and members of the 107IST, now more than ever, this is our time to support and stand behind the players of today and tomorrow.


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