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November 7, 2022
Portland Thorns player Meleana “Mana” Shim first raised her concerns over head coach Paul Riley’s behavior towards her in an email to him during the 2015 season. According to the Yates report, Riley deleted the email and cleared his trash folder, reducing Shim’s playing time throughout the rest of the season.
Shim would later file a formal complaint against Riley, notifying not only Riley, but also PTFC owner Merritt Paulson, the club’s HR director, and NWSL Commissioner Jeff Plush. An investigation into Riley’s behavior was then conducted by the Thorns after other players, including Sinead Farrelly, also reported misconduct, while another club, Sky Blue FC, decided they would not try to hire Riley due to the investigation.
In Sept. 2015, following the investigation the Thorns released a statement confirming they “would not be retaining” Riley for the following season. What the organization chose not to make public was the fact that Riley was fired due to his, “dishonesty, fraudulent behavior, unethical behavior and the like.” These reasons were listed in Riley’s termination letter, which was not public because the Thorns did not characterize his release as a firing or termination, though it was according to the Yates report and later statements by Paulson.