A statement on behalf of the 107IST Board of Directors
As the engine that fuels The Timbers Army and the Rose City Riveters, the 107IST board represents a growing and disparate group of supporters. We know that as supporters we will disagree about many things, large and small, in person and online. But as an organization there are some things on which we all agree.
- We support team, town, and TA/Riveters.
- We support soccer in and around Portland, Oregon, from the grassroots to the highest professional level.
- We have zero tolerance for hate, and zero tolerance for sexual harassment and assault.
Recently we received a report of an incident in the stands right here at home that caused an individual to feel so unsafe that they left the game early. Both the board and the front office responded. We wish we could say that this was an isolated incident, that only one person in the stands has ever engaged in harassing behavior, and that it was only one time. We wish we could say that everyone who comes to jump and clap and sing for the team always feels safe to do so. Sadly, we cannot.
In the course of the investigation and conversation resulting from this incident, we are also examining some truths about ourselves as individuals and as a group that might be hard to take. As AMAZING a community as we are, we need to do better, much better.
As 107ISTS, the Timbers Army and Riveters have a long-standing history of standing up to racism, sexism, and homophobia in the stands. We have long called ourselves champions of basic human rights. While this is most definitely true at our core, we also know we need to do a better job of putting our words into action. As a board and as individuals, we are taking a long, difficult look at what we need to do to create the conditions that give victims of harassment or assault the space and safety to know that they have advocates who will listen and respond. We need to learn how we, as a collective, can be better at intervening in the stands when we are bystanders witnessing such incidents as they occur. As a board, it is our duty to lead; and as individuals, it is each person’s responsibility to play a role in making the North End, and every place we gather, a safe environment. Our diversity and our numbers can, and should be, a strength.
In the coming weeks, the Board will be sharing a process for providing a safe, anonymous (if desired) and confidential place for folks in the stands to report incidents. We will also be improving our capacity to self-police, by providing bystander intervention training, first to game day operations and our own volunteer security people, and eventually to more members of the 107IST community at large. We are also evaluating implementing a code of conduct that clearly spells out what we should expect of ourselves and of each other, whether we’re cheering in the stands, gathering at a social event, painting tifo, or volunteering in the community.
We need to be better at clearly communicating what we all expect of each other. We need to be better at responding, both in the moment and after the fact, and we are committed to doing so.
Please hold us to it.