Former NWSL commissioner Jeff Plush resigns as USA Curling CEO in wake of soccer abuse investigation


The head of the group that runs Olympic curling in the United States resigned Friday in the wake of an investigation that exposed he did not act on allegations of sexual abuse and different harassment when he was commissioner of the National Women’s Soccer League.

USA Curling stated it had accepted the resignation of CEO Jeff Plush and appointed Dean Gemmell, the federation’s director of improvement, as interim CEO.

USA Curling additionally stated it was launching a full overview of its bylaws and governance insurance policies, together with the way it manages abuse claims.

“Change will come swiftly, with contributions from all types of individuals who play our nice sport,” the federation stated in a press release.

Gemmell stated he was planning on internet hosting a city corridor in the approaching week.

“I’m persuaded curling could be a pressure for good, and when the individuals in this sport work collectively we are able to make nice issues occur,” he stated in a press release.

Plush didn’t instantly reply to a textual content message and e mail from The Associated Press.

Last week, citing the soccer investigation, a majority of USA Curling’s range activity pressure known as for his removing and, failing that, for the board to step down.

“He can’t be trusted to prioritize the security and well-being of athletes in this group,” the group stated in a press release that was signed by 11 present and former members of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force. “We are involved concerning the fast security of US curlers.”

WATCH | CBC Sports’ That Curling Show breaks down USA Curling controversy:

That Curling Show: USA Curling controversy and why many are calling for the removing of CEO Jeff Plush

Hosts Devin Heroux and Colleen Jones break down the controversy round USA Curling with Monica Walker from Global Initiative for DEI in Curling and Debra Martin from United We Curl. They additionally meet up with world blended curling champ Jean-Michel Ménard, Kerri Einarson and swimmer Javi Acevedo who simply discovered find out how to curl.

Plush’s tenure was additionally in turmoil after the governing physique voted at a member’s meeting earlier this week to expel the nation’s largest regional affiliation for nonpayment of dues throughout the pandemic. Clubs complained that debate was shut down with out having an opportunity to voice their opposition and about different irregularities in the voting course of.

Unhappy curling golf equipment took to Twitter with calls to .FlushPlush, saying the purge clashed with the game’s ethos as a welcoming, convivial group and its want to develop past its higher midwestern roots.

According to an investigation by former U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates, Plush was conscious of abuse allegations towards Portland Thorns coach Paul Riley when he led the NWSL however didn’t do something to stop him from teaching in the league. The report additionally stated Plush didn’t reply to requests for an interview as half of the investigation, which uncovered years of systemic emotional abuse and sexual misconduct.

USA Curling has stated an investigation discovered Plush “acted in accordance with prioritizing the security of athletes.” It stated it might revisit the investigation in gentle of the Yates report.

The range activity pressure known as upon U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland to take away Plush from the place he has held since 2020. It additionally requested an investigation into how USA Curling has dealt with any abuse allegations throughout Plush’s tenure.

The assertion was signed by eight members of the 12-person activity pressure and three former members; the 4 who didn’t sign had been Plush and members of the USA Curling employees and board of administrators.

The assertion additionally was posted on-line as a petition, and it had garnered greater than 500 signatures.

“The collective response has eroded the belief of the curling group in the establishments charged to guard us,” the assertion stated.

According to the report into sexual misconduct in soccer, Thorns participant Mana Shim knowledgeable Plush in 2015 about Riley’s advances, as nicely as his retaliation when she requested him to cease. Plush forwarded Shim’s e mail to U.S. Soccer, however the league took no motion towards Riley.

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 proprietor Merritt Paulson stepped down as the groups’ CEO.


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