Diversity task force members want USA Curling CEO Plush out

Oct 17, 2022, 3:03 AM | Updated: 4:56 pm
FILE - National Women's Soccer League commissioner Jeff Plush presents FC Kansas City with the trop...

FILE - National Women's Soccer League commissioner Jeff Plush presents FC Kansas City with the trophy after the NWSL soccer championship match in Portland, Ore., Oct. 1, 2015. A majority of USA Curling's diversity task force has called for the removal of Plush as the national governing body’s CEO, accusing him of failing to act when confronted with allegations of sexual abuse and other misconduct while serving as the commissioner of the National Women’s Soccer League. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer, File)

(AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer, File)

A majority of USA Curling’s diversity task force has called for the removal of Jeff Plush as the national governing body’s CEO, accusing him of failing to act when confronted with allegations of sexual abuse and other misconduct while serving as the commissioner of the National Women’s Soccer League.

“He cannot be trusted to prioritize the safety and well-being of athletes in this organization,” the group said in a statement that was signed by 11 current and former members of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force. “We are concerned about the immediate safety of US curlers.”

According to an investigation by former U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates, Plush was aware of abuse allegations against Portland Thorns coach Paul Riley but did not do anything to prevent him from coaching in the league. The report also said Plush did not respond to requests for an interview as part of the investigation, which uncovered years of systemic emotional abuse and sexual misconduct.

USA Curling did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press. The organization had previously released a statement saying an investigation found Plush “acted in accordance with prioritizing the safety of athletes.”

The USA Curling Athletes’ Advisory Council issued a statement on Sunday saying it meets daily with the board and “work will continue in order to evaluate our position as things develop.”

“We are at the table, every single day, advocating to make curling a better and safer place for athletes to compete, commune, and thrive,” it said. “Our work in support of you will never be done. We encourage athletes of all abilities to reach out with any questions or concerns at any time, and we continue to look for ways to bring as many of your voices and experiences to light as we can.”

After Yates’ report was released, U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland sent a letter to staff that said the federation was in contact with USA Curling.

But the task force called upon Hirshland to remove Plush from the position he has held since 2020; failing that, it calls upon the USA Curling board of directors to resign. It also requested an investigation into how USA Curling has handled any abuse allegations during Plush’s tenure.

Finally, the task force asked the USA Curling board to release the results of the investigation that cleared Plush. “The full process, investigation results, and steps forward should be released to the USA Curling community to restore trust and transparency,” the task force members wrote.

The statement was signed by eight members of the 12-person task force and three former members; the four who did not sign were Plush and members of the USA Curling staff and board of directors. The statement also was posted online as a petition, and it had garnered more than 500 signatures.

“The collective response has eroded the trust of the curling community in the institutions charged to protect us,” the statement said.

According to the report into sexual misconduct in soccer, Thorns player Mana Shim informed Plush in 2015 about Riley’s advances, as well as his retaliation when she asked him to stop. Plush forwarded Shim’s email to U.S. Soccer, but the league took no action against Riley.

Since the report was released on Oct. 3, Riley, who denied the allegations, was fired as head coach of the North Carolina Courage; NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird stepped down; and Thorns and Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson stepped down as the teams’ COO.

Riley, who denied the allegations, was fired as coach of the North Carolina Courage. NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird stepped down, and Thorns and Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson stepped down as the teams’ CEO.

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Head coach Louis van Gaal of the Netherlands adjusts his audio device during Netherlands official p...
Associated Press

Van Gaal, 71 and revitalized, may take another coaching job

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Revitalized at the World Cup, Louis van Gaal might not be ready to call time on his coaching career just yet. The 71-year-old Van Gaal came out of retirement last year to take charge of the Netherlands for a third time and has led the team to the World Cup quarterfinals, […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Qatar investigating death of worker at World Cup-linked site

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Qatar is investigating the death of a migrant worker who reportedly was killed while doing repairs at a resort that had served as the Saudi team’s training base during the World Cup. Nasser Al Khater, the head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the World Cup, expressed his condolences to the family […]
1 day ago
Lionel Messi lleva la pelota durante la práctica de Argentina antes del partido ante Holanda por l...
Associated Press

Messi resumes World Cup quest as Argentina plays Netherlands

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Lionel Messi up against Virgil van Dijk. The youngest coach at the World Cup taking on the oldest. South America versus Europe. A back catalog of famous meetings. The quarterfinal match between Argentina and the Netherlands on Friday has all the ingredients of a classic. And the possibility of it being […]
1 day ago
Brazil's Vinicius Junior, Danilo and Neymar dance with Lucas Paqueta, right, after he scored his si...
Associated Press

Brazil wants to keep dancing against Croatia at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Brazil wants to keep the dancing going at the World Cup when it faces Croatia on Friday with a spot in the semifinals on the line. The Brazilians have made it clear they will not back from their goal celebrations in Qatar despite criticism by some. “It’s part of the Brazilian […]
1 day ago
FILE - WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted from a courtroom af...
Associated Press

A look at Brittney Griner’s career on, off basketball court

A timeline of key events in Brittney Griner’s career on and off the basketball court: Oct. 18, 1990: Brittney Griner was born in Houston. 2009: Led Nimitz High School to Texas 5A girls basketball state championship game where they lost. The 6-foot-7 star dunked 52 times as a senior, including seven times in one game […]
1 day ago
FILE - Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner sits during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's ...
Associated Press

WNBA star Griner freed in swap for Russian arms dealer Bout

WASHINGTON (AP) — Russia freed WNBA star Brittney Grine r on Thursday in a high-profile prisoner exchange, as the U.S. released notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout but failed to win freedom for another American, Paul Whelan, who has been jailed for nearly four years. The deal, the second in eight months amid tensions over […]
1 day ago
Diversity task force members want USA Curling CEO Plush out