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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Merritt Paulson steps down as CEO of Portland Thorns & Timbers

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Portland Thorns and Timbers owner Merritt Paulson announced he will step down as CEO of both clubs amid the continuing fallout from the Yates investigation.

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He also hinted at the possibility of selling the two teams. The statement comes after persistent pleas from supporters and players for Paulson to remove himself from the organization completely. 

The Thorns and Paulson played an integral role in the Yates investigation, as findings proved the team helped former head coach Paul Riley attain a different job in the league despite having been fired after sexual misconduct.

The report also explained that under Paulson’s watch, president of business Mike Golub created “an atmosphere of disrespect and intimidation towards women and working mothers employed at the club over a span of 11 years.”

Golub and Wilkinson have since been fired from the Thorns organization, but fans continue to urge Paulson to sell the team. Though he briefly touched on the subject, there is a lot of uncertainty still surrounding the subject. 

“The Portland Thorns were created to be a beacon of what is possible in women’s sports. A successful team is built on trust, equality and accountability, and today I am holding myself accountable for not doing enough,” Paulson said.

“Looking ahead, our organization is at a crossroads, and the future is not necessarily a clear path. No matter what happens, ensuring the long-term health and success of the Portland Thorns is critical to me, as I know it is for our players and the community. Given the complexities involved on several levels, finalizing the correct path forward will take time. I love this organization as if it was part of my family, and to me, what is most important is getting it right.”

As the ownership of the club hangs in the balance, USWNT and Thorns figure Sophia Smith has urged fans to continue showing up at Providence Park to support the team as they fight in the NWSL playoffs.

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