Beyond Rivalry: Safe Environments for Athletes

08 May 2019 4:55 PM | Sherrilynn Rawson (Administrator)

The Timbers have an important away match in Vancouver this weekend — and with plenty on the line: the first chance to take Cascadia Cup points, a shot at maintaining some winning momentum, and an opportunity to rise above the red line. The Timbers Army will be in the stands in BC Place in full voice to cheer on the Boys in Green as they take on the Whitecaps, Cascadian rivals on the pitch.

But some things are bigger than rivalry.

In February, former Whitecaps women’s player, Ciara McCormack, posted a blog that detailed the horrific bullying and abuse of power that female athletes had to endure at the hands of a former Whitecaps coach. Since then, additional allegations of bullying, sexual misconduct, and racism (against another coach) have surfaced.

The Whitecaps supporters groups, Southsiders and Curva Collective, have been working to hold the Whitecaps’ front office to the standard “Our all/Our honour” they claim as their slogan. They have called for a meeting between the former players and the Whitecaps ownership and a third-party investigation with results to be made public. They’ve also asked the Whitecaps to lift the restrictions on certain members of the press who have taken the lead on reporting on the story. These reporters have sometimes been excluded from Whitecaps' media availabilities.

Bottom line: We support human rights, and we support our Cascadian rivals in their fight for safe environments for athletes. To that end, we are sharing this message from Southsiders and Curva Collective — and we encourage our supporters to participate in the walkout of the stadium at the 35th minute (34:00 on the clock) in solidarity.

The Southsiders and Curva Collective are calling for #walkout35 on Friday. At the 35th minute, people who wish to show solidarity with the women who came forward with their stories of harassment and abuse, and protest the Whitecaps handling of the situation, are asked to leave their seats and make their way to the concourse. There, we encourage everyone to continue supporting their team and watch the game on the monitors for the remainder of the first half.

Why are we protesting?

  • The desired meeting between the former players and Whitecaps ownership, without involvement of the Whitecaps executives, will not be happening as requested.

  • We disagree with the media strategy that the Whitecaps are using, and encourage them to openly answer questions from media

  • We hope to spotlight attention to #safeSport and supporting #safeSportAthletes

For more information, see this timeline posted by the Southsiders.


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