UPDATE: The Portland Thorns have removed General Manager Gavin Wilkinson from Thorns duties pending the results of the outside investigation detailed below. 


PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - Nearly a week after an explosive report on former Portland Thorns coach Paul Riley rocked the National Women's Soccer League, the fallout here at home continues: The Timbers Army and the Rose City Riveters, the Timbers and Thorns FC supporters' groups, are now calling for the organization to fire General Manager Gavin Wilkinson, among a host of other demands. 

Gavin Wilkinson

Timbers and Thorns General Manager Gavin Wilkinson (KPTV photo)

In a statement released Tuesday, the 107ist, the nonprofit behind the Timbers Army and the Riveters, said it's asking members of the two groups to boycott all concessions inside Providence Park, as well as official team merchandise, until the Timbers/Thorns organization agrees to a list of demands they outlined. 

"This past week has been harrowing as we learned the extent of abuse and suppression that has taken place in Portland," the statement reads. "It is clear that the Portland Thorns organization is complicit in the NWSL’s failures by actively sweeping incidents and complaints under the rug and passing issues off to others without holding offenders accountable. It is also abundantly evident that the PTFC leadership team knew about the incidents when they were reported in 2015. This is inexcusable.

"Our hearts and our actions are with Portland’s players — one hundred percent. Our trust, however, is utterly shattered, and it cannot be repaired until significant changes take place across all levels of the PTFC organization."

On Thursday (Sept. 30), The Athletic published an investigation accusing Riley of sexual coercion, harassment and misconduct with players, much of which happened while he was coaching the Thorns in 2014 and 2015. Former Thorns players Sinead Farrelly and Meleana Shim both said they felt pressured by Riley to engage in inappropriate behavior or risk losing their careers. Farrelly said Riley coerced her into having sex with him on more than one occasion, and both former players said he convinced the two to kiss each other in his apartment after a long night of drinking.

Paul Riley

Paul Riley (photo courtesy Portland Timbers website)

The investigation also brought to light that the Thorns fired Riley in 2015 because of Shim’s allegations, but they never said publicly why his contract wasn’t renewed. He was hired by another National Women’s Soccer League team a few months later, and until last week, Riley was still head coach of the North Carolina Courage.

The report, which includes allegations of Riley “fixating” on players’ relationships and commenting about their weight, prompted the NWSL to postpone all matches over the weekend. It also forced the resignations of NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird and general counsel Lisa Levine.

Thorns and Timbers owner Merritt Paulson said the organization has hired a former federal prosecutor to investigate the 2015 Riley investigation. 

Read the full statement from the 107ist here

Timbers, Thorns fan groups call for teams to fire GM Gavin Wilkinson

Timbers Army members hold signs up in support of the Portland Thorns at Sunday's Timbers game at Providence Park (submitted photo)

Copyright 2021 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. 


Recommended for you