PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After a report detailing systemic emotional abuse and sexual misconduct in the National Women’s Soccer League was published last week, Portland Timbers and Thorns football club sponsor Alaska Airlines announced the company has decided to redirect funds from the teams the next quarter into the players association’s emergency fund.
The Yates report, which was released on Oct. 3, has sent shockwaves through Portland and through the sporting community, even garnering responses from local politicians. Fans have called on sponsors of the football club to stop backing the organization.
In a statement released by Alaska Airlines on Sunday, they address their response to the report.
“Our foremost priority is to support players through actions that push for a safe, respectful, and transparent culture at the Portland Timbers and Thorns FCs.”
They go on to detail their plan to shift funds away from the Timbers and Thorns FC and redirect them to the NWSL Players Association Support the Players Emergency Trust and to youth sports leagues in Portland, saying “We entered into this partnership as a commitment to the Portland community, and that commitment has not changed.”
The statement also comments on the company’s goal to continue work to support “meaningful change.”
“We will continue to seek input from players and the community to ensure our actions support meaningful change and will reevaluate our sponsorship based on clear evidence of progress.”
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler sent a statement to KOIN 6 News, saying “the information revealed in the investigation by the U.S. Soccer Federation is horrific. This egregious treatment of women in sports is unacceptable and anyone who knowingly covers up allegations of sexual abuse should have no role in professional soccer.”
After the report’s release, the team fired its president of soccer, Gavin Wilkinson, and its president of business, Mike Golub. The owner of the two teams, Merritt Paulson, announced he would step aside from Thorns-related decision-making.