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More Horrifying

than Fiction

The Offside Coroner is about a women's professional soccer team and a coach whose gross misconduct might be what gets him killed.

Much of what the coach did in my book was inspired by the story of the USA's women's pro league; in particular, the actions of the former coach of the Portland Thorns and North Carolina Courage. But I had no idea of the extent of it—and how systemic and pervasive the abuse was—until this month. That's when I read the summary of the Yates report, an investigation led by a former U.S. Attorney General into what happened. It's horrifying reading. (There's a free article on ESPN's site, though you'll need to read past their promos of their documentary. Steph Yang and Meg Linehan of the The Athletic have done a great job of coverage, but their articles are behind a paywall.)

The Yates report calls a lot of attention to the problems... but it still doesn't look like much will be done about it. Some coaches are getting fired, others are losing their license to coach, but no one's going to jail. Meanwhile, the players who were victimized by these coaches have to live with it every day.

I don't pretend to know what the answer is—except the system has to start holding the bad guys accountable. And right now, the system is protecting the bad guys, doing the minimum possible to protect players and prevent it from happening to others. Perhaps the first step is educating ourselves—as the saying goes, sunlight is the best disinfectant.

(I'm linking to The Athletic below because I like their coverage—I do not get compensated.)