PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As Madison Shanley waited in the Portland Timbers locker room to sing the national anthem – as she has for the last 12 years – all her thoughts were focused on the words printed on her shirt.

Shanley decided to wear a bright red shirt with the words “You Knew” while singing the national anthem at the Timbers’ game last Sunday. The Portland resident told KOIN 6 News she made the decision following the domestic violence allegations against former Timbers player Andy Polo.

“When I started hearing about the allegations that had been made, and the mismanagement of the front office with these said allegations, I was heartbroken,” Shanley said. Shanley describes herself as a survivor of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

“You knew — yet didn’t protect the players, the women involved in making the reports,” she stated.

Madison Shanley sings the national anthem at the Timbers game last Sunday while wearing a shirt with the words “You Knew” printed on top. (Courtesy Photo: Kayla Plummer/ KP Photography)

The Timbers terminated Polo’s contract last February due to the domestic violence allegations against him. However, the announcement came one day after the club said Major League Soccer had suspended Polo after the same allegations against the player.

According to the Athletic, the Portland Timbers did not inform MLS soccer officials of the 2021 domestic violence allegations against Polo until news broke publicly in early February.

A review done by lawyers for Major League Soccer later concluded that the Timbers did not induce or pressure the wife of former player Andy Polo to decline to pursue criminal charges. As part of the review, the Timbers were fined $25,000 for failing to “promptly and appropriately report the incident” to the league.

Before the accusations against Polo, former Portland Thorns head coach Paul Riley was accused of sexual coercion by multiple former players from across women’s soccer, including his former players in Portland, according to a report from The Athletic last fall.

Shanley said she wore a mock-up of her “You Knew” t-shirt at a Thorns game last October when the accusations came out against Riley. She remembers receiving inspiration from a banner at a previous game with the same saying.

However, Shanley said she received backlash after telling select people of her plan to wear the shirt before singing the national anthem last Sunday.

“I started getting text messages from my dad and a voicemail and calls from him expressing that Mike Golub had contacted him,” she said. “He contacted my dad in hopes that he would convince me not to wear the shirt because it would be risking my relationship with the organization. It would be basically giving a middle finger to the club is what his words were, and I felt a lot of pressure coming from my dad and coming from the higher-ups.”

KOIN 6 News reached out to the Portland Timbers for comment about Shanley’s shirt and her statements regarding Golub, who is the president of business for the Portland Timbers.

The Timbers did not have any further comments other than confirming the statement given to The Oregonian/OregonLive. Golub told the publication he didn’t have Shanley’s number and figured her father was with her at the stadium, as is normally the case, so that is why he chose to call him. Golub then went down to speak to Shanley in person after the call.

Shanley confirmed the face-to-face interaction with Golub.

“He just wanted to make sure I had all of the information in order to make the decision, and at that point, I did, so I asked him if he was going to pull me,” she recalled. “I asked him if he wasn’t going to let me sing, and he said, ‘No, you’re free to do what you’d like. You’re free to continue performing, but we want you to know the risks.’”

She added, “I knew what they were, and I went forward with it anyway because I had made my choice.”

A source with KOIN 6 News said Shanley is welcome to continue singing the national anthem at future Timbers games. Shanley said she’s been invited to meet with Timbers staff prior to singing on Sunday, April 17.

As for her decision to wear the shirt, she says she doesn’t regret it and received overwhelming support from the community. Shanley hopes the shirt can leave a longstanding impact as fans move forward.

“I know that [the shirt] comes off as a message of punishment. It comes off as a message of disdain,” she said. “However, for me, it’s a message of hope.”