While we were prepared for the worst, nothing prepared us for what was contained in the USSF/Sally Yates report.
We are seething and we are heartbroken.
First and foremost: To all Portland Thorns players, past and present, you will always have our love and support. Words will never convey the pain we feel knowing that you had to endure anything less than the full support, respect, and encouragement of your coaches, staff, and club leadership. You were failed — multiple times and by many people.
As a supporters group, you are an integral part of who we are and what we do. We show up and show our support for you. The findings detailed in this report (and we know there will be more to come) aren’t what you, or anyone else, signed up for.
As a leadership group, we were lied to. Although we remained cautiously optimistic at each meeting and in each interaction with PTFC leadership, reading the report highlighted the multiple bold-faced lies we were told, both in meetings and in town halls.
They said they couldn’t speak freely until the investigation results were public. “Wait until the results are in before reaching any conclusions,” they said. Well, we honored that request. The results are in. And those results are far worse than even the initial reports had indicated.
The time for waiting has passed. The toxic culture that allowed these behaviors to exist and continue in our clubs’ organizations runs too long, too deep, and too high. Mike Golub and Gavin Wilkinson have no place in the Timbers and Thorns organization, or in Soccer City, USA; and Merritt Paulson and Peregrine Sports need to sell the teams.
In spite of the challenges, our members have told us repeatedly that they wish for us to remain in conversation with club leadership. Keep going to meetings. Keep the dialogue going. Having read the investigative report and its conclusions, however, we don’t see a way forward anymore.
At this point and for the foreseeable future, the leadership of the 107IST, Timbers Army, and Rose City Riveters are suspending relations with the Portland Timbers and Thorns Football Club while the leadership team includes Merritt Paulson, Mike Golub, and Gavin Wilkinson. With playoffs approaching, yes, it means that game days might look different. It’s time to build a bonfire.
The players make our clubs what they are. We, the supporters of the Portland Thorns and Portland Timbers, strive to make our support both in the stands and on the streets what it should be every day in Soccer City, USA. To supporters around the globe and to our regional supporters groups: This is it. This is the moment. We’ll need every one of us to come together to make our voices heard — from Providence Park to Portland, Maine, and from Paris and the Philippines. As each of us digest the information in this report and the forthcoming NWSL/NWSLPA investigative report, we need to answer the call: who are we.
We were here before the current leagues and owners, and we’ll be here long after. Our love for Team/Town/Timbers Army and Rose City Riveters runs deeper than any league or ownership.